By, Joseph Keating
Wook Jin Clark
Issue #1 introduced us to Xoo Lin an unregistered chef who lives in a soup bowl, which is walled off from the rest of the world. Food is king and chefs are valued- schooled, trained, registered chefs. The dilemma, Xoo’s parents are ailing and he needs to obtain Garuda Truffles to heal them. Hanging over the city is the concerning question, what threatens life in the bowl from the outside?
The creators develop three main themes that move the story along. One involves the depiction of society and everyday life in the bowl. This occurs through Anan, a character who is training to become a registered culinarian at the chef’s academy. It’s a huge honor which places Anan under lots of pressure to succeed. Secondly, there’s the ailing parents and Xoo’s pursuit of a cure – by any means necessary. By day he works at a restaurant with his uncle Geoff. By night, Xoo investigates any angle or potential solution, which includes putting himself in dangerous, underground communities.
The third theme involves the threat from outside the bowl. This theme is loosely touched on in the book when Anan’s father has a conversation about taxation and an upcoming financial situation with another character. The story bit is not fully developed, however, enough is inferred to have me interested in how it will flush out.
The art is vibrant due to cleanly drawn cityscapes and bright color contrasts that pop off the page. The characters faces and body features are uniquely drawn, which flushes out the characters and develops texture. For example, Uncle Geoff gets into a fist fight and has his shirt ripped off, very funny. His protagonist, “Bob”, notices a uniques tattoo on his back. It’s Bob’s scruffy, furry face and Geoff’s stubble laden chin that makes the characters unique and says – we’re everyday people trying to find a way. I love this book and want to know more about these characters and how their stories play out. This is a testament to the storytelling both through the exposition and the artful depictions. I highly recommend picking up this book.