Starve surprised me. Like most Image #1 issues, I didn't know anything about it that I couldn't get from the cover. When I started reading it, I was disheartened by the first few pages, looking like a sort of story I'm too familiar with and do not enjoy reading. Then it starts to change.
The first thing that I noticed was the art, and it's a style I'm not overly fond of. It looks like someone aggressively inked a sketchbook, and between that and the darker colors, it feels very dark and dreary. That's not always a bad thing, but in comics it often points in the direction of trying to be dark and depressing and serious, believing that those things are good, or even necessary. Add to that the exposition at the beginning, and we have Gavin Cruikshank, grizzled older man who has lost everything and is living in some sort of third world country, trying to leave the world behind.
Like I said, it starts to change. The premise does not go in a wildly different direction than it starts in, but as it fleshes these out, it stops feeling like a story I've read so many times. Gavin was a celebrity chef in the past, and the TV show that he created, Starve, became a huge hit in the time he was gone, and he is brought back to it. In the meantime, his ex-wife has tried to take everything he owned, he's not allowed to see his daughter, and many things that you expect to see from the setup are there.
Then comes the twist to it that is the reason why I think I'll come back to it. Just off to the side of it is the world gone completely to hell. We're shown in a flashback that the world economy collapsed some time in the past, but it turned almost the entire world into something resembling a third world country. Everyone but the elite .1% is living in a world where the most common meat available to them is dog, and Starve, as a show, has become a celebration of the excess that the elite can live in, while the rest of the world cannot. All of this sets up Gavin and what he wants to do, though it's not entirely clear how: he is going to finish off the show he created, fight back against the world, and win everything he feels he deserves back.
Like I said, there are a lot of cliches, but they are done well, not in the more predictable ways. I don't know if I'll be getting the next issue, since this feels like a series that will read better as a trade, but I will definitely be keeping my eye on it in the future.