By Dustin Cabeal
If you’re planning on reading Brave Chef Brianna, stay to the end. The reason I say that is it took over half of the issue to hook me on reading this series. That’s not to say that there aren’t some stumbles along the way, in the end, I was sold on reading the next three issues in the mini-series from BOOM! Box.
The story follows Brianna, the only daughter to a world-famous chef that has thirteen sons and fourteen kids altogether. He’s dying, and no one seems to give a big hoot about it because he pits them all against each other. To inherit his food empire, they all have to open a restaurant and be the most successful. Oh, and they only have two months to do it.
Brianna picks Monster City which seemed like a cool name for a city that’s possibly plagued by Monster. Instead, it’s the other type of Monster City, populated by monsters. She gets an employee and opens up shop only to find out that she’s done jack shit of research on Monsters and they’re forbidden from eating certain foods which throws her for a curve (one that she may have ignored, I couldn’t quite tell).
The story and setting are interesting for sure. I don’t know about the weird competition and the complete lack of care for the father’s wellbeing. I mean, no one says anything or seems to care. Not even our main character who is the classic “daddy’s little girl.” The dialogue was mostly successful, but the entire opening is exposition, so that hurt it some. Brianna has two types of narration running throughout the issue. The first gives us a look at what she’s doing and thinking and going through, and it was well-written and easy to follow. The other is her self-doubt, and it was by far the worst thing to read. Not because it was realistic self-doubt, but because of how it was lettered. I don’t know if it was letterer Jim Campbell’s choose or creator Sam Sykes’ choice to make it a cloudy black font that was neither fun or easy to read, but it was my least favorite part of the comic. I tried to skip it, but there were times that it seemed to be connected to the next line of narration, so I ended up reading them all and liking none of it. I could see what they were going for and the effort is certainly there, but in the end, it didn’t work and will likely be repeated in the next three issues.
The art from Selina Espiritu is fantastic. The style looks a lot like the art that’s been on Giant Days and Steven Universe. Espiritu’s style is clean, crisp, while her character designs are unique and original looking. In particular, I enjoyed the illustrations for when the customers ate Brianna’s food. It was a wholesome step down from Food Wars, but still very similar. Sarah Stern’s coloring is the final piece to the artist puzzle giving the world a lovely pastel hue to it that fits Brianna’s personality and the tone of the story. It also keeps the monsters from looking to fearsome which would be out of place in this comic.
While there’s some room for improvement, this first issue of Brave Chef Brianna is very entertaining. It wears its influences on its sleeve which is fine, but the execution is fairly unique. While I’m not scoring it very high, again, it is worth reading and likely to find a very dedicated fan base that is willing to root for Brianna to take over her father’s food empire… which I’m sure she’ll inevitably turn down in order to find her own way or some such thing.
Brave Chef Brianna #1 (of 4)
Creator/Writer: Sam Sykes
Artist: Selina Espiritu
Colorist: Sarah Stern
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: BOOM!/BOOM! Box