Danger and delicious food abound in Flavor #2. Is it good?
After a well-crafted, but structurally routine first issue, Flavor really gets going. Joseph Keatinge and Wook Jin Clark add layers to almost every aspect of the issue. Characters and the world feel more developed, and the plot gets thicker as unexpected relationships between the characters are revealed. If Flavor #1 felt a little flat, it’s only because the newest issue uses it as a trampoline to launch higher.
The artwork in Flavor #2 also works in more fantasy. Xoo’s dog, Buster, is more anthropomorphic than in the debut, shaking his fist and posting up on a counter. He still barks, but it’s a testament to the talents of Wook Jin Clark that the character comes across as believable.
One of the better sequences in the issue is a fight between Xoo’s uncle, Geof, and a rowdy man named Bob. It’s a short fight, but the way that it’s executed highlights everyone in the creative team. Keatinge and Clark do a fantastic job setting it up within the story, and then Clark and colorist Tamra Bonvillain carry it home. Bonvillain and flatting assistant Fernando Argüello make a particularly strong choice not to stray too dramatically from the rest of the issue’s look. In a superhero book, you might expect the backgrounds to be colored with an eye-catching red, but by allowing the fight to match the rest of the book, Bonvillain makes the fight feel more real, even with Clark’s stylized linework. Letterer Ariana Maher also does a fantastic job with placing word balloons in the fight so that the characters can talk without blocking the artwork. There are some clever beats in the sequence that don’t work without the dialogue.
The issue “ends” with a fantastic essay on flavor by chef and series culinary consultant, Ali Bouzari. The essay highlights just how much our senses factor into our experiences with food. Not only is this informative, but it helps with appreciating the delectable visuals Wook Jin Clark and Tamra Bonvillain have placed in the comic. But even after this, Flavor #2 offers a nice bonus in a sneak preview of Proxima Centauri, a new series by Farel Dalrymple.
Is It Good?
Flavor #2 ups the ante in just about every way from the first issue. Joseph Keatinge, Wook Jin Clark, Tamra Bonvillain, Ariana Maher, and Fernando Argüello all make their mark in the book, and set the stage for the story that looks to continually surprise readers (and the essay and preview at the end are fantastic bonuses).