Rating: 4.5/5 – A Peculiar, Exceptionally Fun and Unique Series.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.
Collecting Chew #1-10.
The premise of Chew is outlandish. In the near future, poultry is outlawed, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the most powerful law enforcement agency in the world, and people have superhuman powers based on food. Enter Tony Chu, a Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. And what he eats as an agent of the FDA is not always food. My impression upon reading the premise of this series was curiosity and I decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did, because as outlandish as all this seems, writer John Layman has crafted one of the most fun, humorous, and unique stories that I’ve read in a while. Chew: The Omnivore Edition Vol. 1 collects the the first two story arcs of the comic series. I really like this since one story arc isn’t always enough to get the full flavor of a series. This collection is a perfect length–enough to get you hooked and wanting more.
As you dig into the series, Chu is steadily joined by an eclectic cast of characters, each unique, interesting, and fun in their own right. I love the way the series introduces its characters, with a few panels featuring their bio and their power, if applicable. Here’s just a small taste of the cast to whet your appetite:
· Chow Chu (brother) – chef, parents must have really hated him to give him that name
· Mason Savoy (partner) – fellow Cibopathic, slightly unhinged
· John Colby (partner) – cyborg, meat cleaver to the face
· Amelia Mintz (love interest) – Saboscriver, food writer
· Poyo (rooster) – King of Cocks
The cast is one of my favorite aspects of this series. I also love how almost each individual issue features a prelude, which is skillfully tied into the narrative. Both the character introductions and the preludes set up the story quickly so you can just enjoy what’s ahead. The stories are about as crazy as the world they are set in and Layman leaves quite a bit open-ended. At any given time, there are multiple plot points left hanging. Some of the plot points are wrapped up within this volume, some, I suspect, will unfold in the long run as the series progresses. This isn’t a bad thing, but I can see some of the finer details lost over time. The good thing about a thick volume is the ability to easily flip back and review as needed.
The art by Rob Guillory is about as unique as the series. As the volume extras note, Guillory’s original illustrations struck a darker tone. And while the series ultimately deals with a future that is far from rosy, the series is also quite humorous. Ultimately, Guillory went with a lighter, animated look, and the series is all the better for it. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s perfect for the series. Also of note, Guillory can draw some mean blood, guts, gore, puke, and spoiled food, which is always a plus in my book.
Overall, this first volume of Chew provides a great introduction and more into this world of poultry politics and intrigue. It’s a twisted, funny book that offers something different from your mainstream comic in both story and art. Already I’ve picked up the next volume and I suspect I will ultimately add this to my regular pull list. Do yourself a favor and give it a try. You may develop a taste for it as well.
Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
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