Sunday, March 6, 2011

Review: Chew volume 1

I picked up volume 2 not so long ago, and was eager to review it, when I realised I never even did a proper review of volume 1! So, vol. 1 collects issues #1-5, and vol. 2 collects issues #6-10. I really like getting trades, because it's cheaper, you get nice little extra bits, and then you're not waiting torturously in-between issues. I only do trades of Chew, Buffy and Angel at the moment. I collect Deadpool mini-series singles, and if anything remotely Firefly/Serenity-related comes out I grab it no matter what format it is.

Alrighty. Chew takes place in a universe where bird flu became a massive pandemic, causing the keeping, cooking and eating of chicken to become illegal in most countries. Because of this, the FDA (food and drug association, of America) have become a special-ops type unit who investigate any reports of black-market poultry dealings.

The main character of the series is a cop named Tony Chu, who is a cibopath. Don't bother Googling it, as far as I can tell it's a term the creators of this comic whipped up. Basically it means that he gets psychic impressions from anything that he eats. Yep, eats. But fellow squeamish people, do not worry, this comic isn't ridiculously gory (a la Nemesis), despite the premise.

Please click on that cover to full-size it, I love the artwork in Chew, and especially the fact that Rob Guillory does the covers AND interior art, so the style is consisent. Yay, consistent!

My other favourite thing about this series is the banter. I'll freely admit I'm a sucker for witty banter. The relationship between Tony Chu and his partner John Colby is awesome. Where Tony is quiet, serious and focused, John is loud, flashy and careless. They hate each other. It's hilarious. Unfortunately their relationship doesn't last long, as John gets a meat cleaver to the head thanks to a serial killer in an illegal restaurant that he and Tony stumble across. Tony ends up being booted from the police force after he uses his, er, 'ability' to find out the names of the previous victims. He is subsequently recruited by the FDA by a mysterious, and humungous man named Mason Savoy.

Having read all the way up to volume three, I can tell you that this series is immaculately crafted. There are twists, there are turns, the alternate universe is close enough to our own to be scarily relateable, and differeent enough to be absolutely fascinating. The characters are so interesting, especially Tony's love interest, who has a special ability of her own.

Like all good 'reality-based' stories, Tony has to deal with crap from his job, crap from criminals who threaten him and crap from his family - often all at once. This comic makes you wince, cringe, laugh and want to give Tony a hug (after he washes his hands and has a mint. Or some gum).

This series is well worth picking up, despite the HORRIBLE CLIFFHANGERS at the end of the trades, but if you're still not convinced, you can do one of two things:
1) Find more reviews, there are plenty of them since Chew won an Eisner award for best new series last year.
2) Comment on this post and on the 12th of March, one of the commenters will win a copy of Issue #1. It will come bagged and boarded so you get your comic in pristine condition. It also has a pretty cover, see?

Well, definitely not pretty in the sense of content... but the art is amazing. Dark but not gothic, anime-inspired without being cartoonish, proportioned without being too studied... I could go on.  Or I could show you the stunning two-page splash of Tony's cibopathic experience...

... but that would spoil it for you.


  1. This is such a random premise! Sounds cool though XD And LOL @ getting psychic impressions from food. I imagine that would be very.....awkward.

  2. I like the way a bunch of your follwers have one eye photos :).

  3. Silhouette: it's not a spoiler, just a funny tidbit... Tony eats a lot of beets, because it's the only food he doesn't get psychic impressions from xD

    Lillian: it is!

    Florida Girl: it's because most of my follwers are beauty bloggers :) it's the 'thing', apparently.


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