Review - Flavor #1 (@ImageComics)

"Follow that truffle!"

A commitment to one's craft will allow someone to make sacrifices in order to be better. Many times those sacrifices are voluntary, but there are times like in Flavor #1 from Image Comics when they're not. The issue is written by Joe Keatinge, illustrated by Wook Jin Clark, colored by Tamra Bonvillain and lettered by Ariana Maher.

Within a strange walled city, an unlicensed chef discovers a mystery that threatens to end it all.

It's clear from the jump that Keatinge's tale is rife with warmth and a friendly attitude. The story centers on Xoo, a young chef fighting to be a chef without being formally licensed as one because of some peculiar rules in the land where she lives. Xoo is fiery enough in her quest to be a legit chef, but the obstacles thrown at her definitely make her an underdog in that regard. Keatinge has put a lot of effort into building out a world in Flavor #1 that revolves around the importance of food--both as sustenance and as a profession. Keatinge uses the world to facilitate the future of the story as well, referencing a code of conduct towards the beginning whose punishment at the end portends something more sinister.

Clark's illustrations are very friendly and generally upbeat. The Ghibli inspiration is very apparent in the artwork (and the script for that matter) with Clark rendering the characters with an attention to a cartoonish, animated style. The general playfulness of Clark's illustrations quite brilliantly reflect the ebullience of Xoo as the main character--something that's pervasive in all the characters actually. Clark's panel arrangement is very clean and organized to provide some structure to the tale. Bonvillain does an excellent job on the colors, washing the work in a palette of oranges, greens and browns for the most part.

Flavor #1 is a very engaging and welcoming first issue. Xoo wants to be a chef above all else and is willing to commit to anything to save her family's business. Keatinge pens s script that's breezy and effortless, informing the reader of important facts without holding their hand. Clark's illustrations are a great fit tonally for the book and underscore it's family-friendly appeal. Flavor #1 is a breath of fresh air that reads very quickly, but is definitely well worth it.

Flavor #1 is available now.