Written by Joseph Keatinge
Art by Wook Jin Clark, Tamra Bonvillain, and Rich Tommaso
Review by KrisK
Flavor is hard to describe. It starts out feeling like a happy-go-lucky all ages comic, and it grows more sophisticated and mysterious as it unfolds. Xoo is an unlicensed underground chef in a world where that is a thing. The culinary world is a cruel one here, and the laws are very restrictive. (One guy is arrested for improper use of a specific type of chili pepper) The picture below is Xoo and her dog, Buster, attempting a heist of a truffle from a train. They are going to be paying for it, but they have to break some rules to get there first.
Though Xoo is an adult, she has a social worker dropping in on her because she dropped out of the culinary academy. (See what I mean. Serious on the cooking in this town.) Xoo is taking care of her parents who have undergone an accident, and they are wheelchair bound. She has been running the restaurant ever since. Her uncle is brought in time on the promise of stipends. Then it gets nefarious…
First, let me say that the comic bursts with creative energy. The world the creative team creates is intriguing and fun. The book drew me in, and I didn’t want to leave. The characters live in the book, and they struggle and survive through determination. The world grows through the issue, and the issue feels like the beginning of a great animated movie. The details enrich the world. The tone of this book varies from beginning to end, and while it works well in this issue, I am wondering if this tone variance will be a problem in the future.
Keatinge is a wonderful writer, and I loved the world he is building. Buster is a stroke of genius, and he brings joy to each scene, including a particularly Scooby-Dooesque moment. The artists harmonize beautifully, so I forgot there wasn’t just one person. The colors on this book leap off the page. The details on this page drive it home.
The one flaw of the book is it drags on a couple of pages towards the front.
Verdict: Buy. This issue made me smile from the first page. I didn’t know what to expect going into it or throughout it. It set up the characters beautifully. It took some interesting turns, and the ending left me intrigued. I can’t wait to see what direction this story goes from here.