"Gorgeous things, the red crab. We'll catch 'em, stash 'em, and cook them for our adoring audience here and at home.
"I'm having a pretty decent day.
"Almost makes me forget about Greer.
"Ah, Christ, the wife.
"Stabbed me, nearly snuffed me out, but who can blame her?
"Mother of my child, and all that.
"But no more clichés.
"She deserves some mercy.
"She's lost the war, the fight's completely gone out of her."
I'm happy to report the second and concluding platter of former Page 45 Comicbook of The Month STARVE VOL 1 is just as tasty a feast for the discerning connoisseur of graphic novels as was the starter! Chef Gavin Cruishank continues his one-man guerrilla mission of culinary vengeance on those who've done him wrong, in his (cook)book at least, as he simultaneously carves his way through the contenders on his gladiatorial cooking show with consummate ease.
Though, as he's starting to realise - and deep down knew all along but has been finally brave enough to admit to himself - perhaps the cause of his wife's fervent desire to destroy him completely and utterly might just have been entirely his own fault. Ooops! Thus, in this case, the chilled dish of revenge he thought he'd be savouring is proving somewhat less palatable and rather harder to stomach than he'd fantasised about.
So, now, for a man used to deconstructing cookery classics and reinventing them with a modern twist, it's in fact the reconstruction of Gavin Cruishank the man, the father, and the soon to be ex-husband that's proving to be his most testing creation to date. Of course, it's easy to take the moral high ground after you've driven your estranged wife to try and stab you to death and she's cooling her now not-so-designer heels, facing a very long stretch between courses, sorry, behind bars.
Gavin, though, a veritable walking contradiction akin to that craziest of desserts, the baked Alaska, all burnt and caramelised, crispy surface, but an icy cool exterior underneath, well, he's never been a man to take the obvious approach to human relations as his long-suffering wife well knows. It's his special lasagne that seals perhaps the most amicable divorce deal ever, though.
So, having put family matters to bed, with his rapprochement with his long neglected daughter complete, and now on civil terms at least with his wife, there's the small matter of the Network to deal with. But filleting those ruthless sharks is going to take even more finesse than possibly even Gavin possesses. For as he now ruefully recognises, he sold his soul when he gleefully took their offer of fame and fortune all those years ago, so he's determined to protect his daughter Angie, herself a potentially extremely talented chef, both blessed and cursed with the Cruishank moniker, from their avaricious clutches, but also from repeating his own mistakes. There'll be a hefty bill waiting for Gavin to pay to get out from under them when all's said and done, but he's still got a couple of crafty ideas tucked under his chef's whites about how to beat the bastards once and for all.
Fantastic finale to a series that has ultimately been all about deep character flaws and their effects on family, tempered with the possibility of emotional resurrection and redemption.