Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Comics Review: Chew

Art by Rob Guillory
Let me begin this review by saying, "Terence Hoskins, you were right.  I should have been reading Chew way before now.  You are a genius among men and your comic advice is not to be ignored."
Flipping through Previews a few months ago, I stumbled upon a cover of a comics I knew I must own, Chew: Secret Agent Poyo.  There was a wonderous rooster with metal parts.  Perhaps some of you are unaware of my love of giant metal chickens which started with this blog post. (This one shot just came out and reading it made me furiously happy.) How was I *NOT* reading a comic featuring a homicidal cybernetic rooster?!? This was a situation that needed to be remedied and fast!

Thankfully, Seth works at an excellent comic shop and loves to make me happy by bringing me glorious comics and Chew: Volume One was in my hands before I could fret too much over missing out on Secret Agent Poyo for so many months.  (Can I side-note for a moment on how much I love trades? Don't get me wrong, I love my single issues, but as far as being able to read through 4-6 issues with no ads in a sitting, trades are sheer comics pleasure.)

On its face, the premise of Chew isn't one I would typically select for myself.  It's rather gory when you contemplate special agents of the FDA that solve crimes (i.e. icky murders with yucky dead bodies) by biting the evidence.  That's right, they bite into those aforementioned dead bodies, chew them to pick up what looks like psychic visions or memories from that rotting flesh.  Grossed out yet? Here's the thing that makes Chew work for me: rather than super realistic way too detailed close of art of horror/crime books, these books have a lovely cartoon style to them.  Biting into some dead guy's arm looks funny rather than vomit inducing.

Chew also brings an interesting state of affairs in that after a particularly bad bout of bird flu, chicken consumption is now illegal in the U.S.  This explains why as mentioned above the FDA is now investigating things like murder.  There's a booming and dangerous trade in outlawed chicken.  You might be thinking, "Outlawed chicken?!? How interesting can that be?" Well, like anything enjoyed widely by the public, demand causes a black market to spring up.  Chicken is the new heroin and the dealers take their business very seriously.  There's also an undercurrent of a government conspiracy leading to the ban of chicken.

Chew assembles a fun and interesting cast of characters from Tony Chu, our lead character and Special Agent of the FDA due to his cibopathic abilities to his partner, John Colby, who becomes cybernetic after being critically injured during a stakeout to Special Agent Mason Savoy, another cibopath gifted with a fabulous mustache as well as Tony's brother, Chef Chow, who rebels against the chicken ban and his love interest, Amelia Mintz, a food critic.

All around, this is a fun read despite of the perhaps disturbing nature of the story.  I have now read the five volumes of trades that have been released to date and am eagerly awaiting the release of the sixth!  Chew is written and lettered by John Layman and drawn and colored by Rob Guillory.     

Bonus Review: Chew: Secret Agent Poyo is one of my favorite one-shots ever. "Poyo is just really, really bad ass." Writer, John Layman, took the words right out of my mouth.  This one shot focuses on Poyo's journey from fighting chicken to special agent.  It's wondrous and you should go by it now. 

No comments:

Post a Comment