When I first heard about GET JIRO! from Anthony Bourdain, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. We've seen celebrities with comic book ideas try to use their fame to get attached to a comic book property. While Anthony Bourdain has made his thoughts on comics known before, I never really expected him to actually become involved with making one. With a story centered around chefs elevated to positions of power and being held above the law, I wasn't sure what to expect. But because Bourdain was involved and because this was being published by Vertigo, there was no way I could avoid buying the hardcover.
It was Bourdain's love of comics as a kid that brought him to the project with co-writer Joel Rose. This is Los Angeles in the future. The food industry and culture is everything. Movies, sports and other things are insignificant. The best of the best chef's are in complete power. They rule the city just as crimelords do. Jiro is a sushi chef who isn't concerned with the battle over territory. Trying to run his own little restaurant, despite his insanely awesome food preparation skills.
Because the story is centered around food and Bourdain is involved, you can expect to see plenty of food references and brilliant depictions by Langdon Foss. If you're a sushi connoisseur, you know there are certain unofficial rules or guidelines in ordering and eating. Not only is he a skilled chef, he's also skilled in other areas. Let's just say, this isn't a happy tale of people preparing fancy dishes. There is plenty of violence and mature language.
Whether this is some sort of statement from Bourdain or Ruse that you need to follow the proper protocol when eating and ordering sushi is another issue. But it adds to the story and shows that an incident such as a chef beheading a costumer can happen without a second thought. These chefs are above the law.
It's this incident and Jiro's rising reputation that grabs the attention of the two big rival...foodlords. Jiro isn't concerned with the fame, glamor or lifestyle they offer. But there are times when you can't simply say 'no.'
This was a highly enjoyable book. The fact that Vertigo backed this project should have been a clear indication in what to expect. Many people feel that comics are just about superheroes and spandex. The rest of us know that isn't the case. This story has a lot of different genres mixed in. Having great writing and great art is what makes it stand out.
The detail in the art for the food items makes you feel you're actually learning something while turning each page to find out where the story is going to go next. This is a great story for anyone in the food industry or even those that just love to cook. There is plenty of action and adventure that will suck you in. Bourdain and Rose have created an interesting world with food being at its center. Even after reading it and knowing the premise, I'm still a little surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Check out the hardcover the next time you're at your local comic shop or bookstore. It'd make a great read for yourself or a nice gift for a friend.