Food Chain is the latest offering from the chameleon-like Jim Alexander, and follows the life of Marc Finch, a struggling salesman who is having trouble keeping up with the fast-moving world he finds himself inhabiting, and who winds up getting more than he bargained for following a casual one night stand.
The book covers a lot of interesting topics without shoving them in your face, and perhaps chief among these is the reliance (perhaps over reliance) that we all have on our mobile devices. When Marc’s phone goes missing following the encounter with the strange woman, you can almost see his entire world crumbling apart before his eyes. It’s an all too familiar feeling, and one we’ve all most likely experienced in that moment when we reach into our pockets and don’t find our phone at our fingertips. However, rather than leaving it there, writer Alexander takes the story in a whole other direction, employing his well-established gift for the bizarre and the unsettling to great effect.
The artwork, provided here by Pete Woods, does a great job – for the most part – of pushing the story along. While some of the colours and layouts can come across a little flat and sterile, this actually works well in conveying the bland ‘board room to hotel room’ existence that Marc leads. My only real niggle with the style is that once the horror hook creeps in near the end of the issue, the same sterility actually diminishes slightly from what we’re seeing, making it seem more ‘normal’ than it perhaps should be.
As always however, any minor artistic criticisms fall by the wayside when paired up with Alexander’s typically terrific writing. In what has become a bit of a hallmark for Planet Jimbot titles, the dialogue here is top notch (with the minor exception of a couple of “Double WTF’s” that I found a little jarring) and really helps establish the characters and the inherent realism of the story. Marc Webb, despite being a bit of an arrogant, objectionable human being, actually has a strange likeability to him, and a lot of this is due to the dry, self-effacing sense of humour that comes across beautifully in the dialogue. So rather than wanting to see this sleazy salesman get his comeuppance, we actually find ourselves rooting for him as the story moves forwards.
Overall, what we have here is yet another intriguing, creative premise from the Jimbot team, all wrapped around a compelling, three-dimensional protagonist. I’m definitely keen to see just where this story goes moving forwards, and I’m considering it yet another success from the seemingly infallible Planet Jimbot. Well worth a look, folks.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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