Title: Flavor #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: May 16, 2018
Written by: Joe Keatinge
Colors by: Tamra Bonvillain
Culinary Consulting by: Ali Bouzari
When most people think of comics, the first thing that’ll likely pop into their head are Superheroes and sci-fi fantasy. Image Comics look to reshape that mold, offering up a tasty new tale in the form of Flavor #1.
In this culinary adventure, we are plopped into a walled-off world where chefs are the ultimate celebrity and food is the most valued commodity. This results in many aspiring youngsters hoping to rise from rags to riches, including Xoo. Introduced speeding through the crowded streets on a bike pedaled by her dog, Buster, Xoo’s pep and spirit are charming from the outset. Her backstory unfolds quickly, though not completely, as not only is it revealed she is an unregistered chef, but that she dropped out of the academy, presumably to take care of her injured parents and their shop.
Alongside being unregistered, Xoo is also too young to run the shop with her parents in their current state. As a result, her uncle Lim is brought in from out of town to help. While it is clear that Xoo will be at the center of the story, her uncle looks to be a considerably interesting character. Shortly after he is introduced, Lim voices his disdain for the society and its rules. What is even more interesting is that he is carrying what looks to be a Buster Sword, though he claims it is “not a sword anymore.”Despite only being the first issue, Flavor #1 has already built a fascinating world, with interesting characters, as well as an intriguing plot.
Tamra Bonvillian’s vibrant panels alone are enough to invite readers into this mysterious world. Like an issue of Where is Waldo, backgrounds are teaming with activity. Despite only being a comic, it was almost as if I could hear the noise of the marketplace and the people that fill it. Bright colors draw the eye in, alongside detailed actions like the speed trail following Xoo and Buster through the market. Further inspection reveals that reflections, shadows, and other specific bits of lighting are also incredibly realist.
As with any first issue, there are a lot of questions to still be answered regarding the world and its rules. More than anything I’m curious about Buster. While he didn’t have dialogue outside of ruffs and woofs as far as thought bubbles are concerned, he is considerably cognizant for a canine. Not only was he pedaling the bike at the beginning of Flavor #1, it is pretty clear that Xoo can understand him, as the two have conversations throughout. When they try to trick Lim and Mrs. Tee later on, Xoo speaks for Buster. Again, it’s not necessarily a problem but is defiantly something I would like to see defined later on.
Verdict: Flavor #1 is the start of a beautiful and inviting new tale, one that has seemingly limitless potential. Alongside being beautifully drawn and colored, the world, its characters, and the plot provide more than enough intrigue to make leaving seem unnecessary, even after only 26 quick pages.
- Peppy young Xoo
- Tamra Bonvillain's coloring
- Intriguing plot and side characters
- Fleshing out the world's rules