Chew, John Layman & Rob Guillory
Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he’s a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn’t mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He’s been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases.
So yeah, I’m late to the party on this one as well. It’s everywhere, it’s got a tonne of issues, and if you’re into the world of comics, you’ve probably read it or, like me, have had it recommended it to you 100 times. Those hundred people know what they’re talking about. But let me just say that though it may be about food… please don’t read this book before/during/immediately after eating. You have been warned.
I’m starting to see a pattern in the kinds of stories I enjoy, and one of the genres I seem to really love is what I’m going to call Crime-With-A-Twist. I’ve never really been one for CSI and Law & Order but give me something like The X Files and I’m there. So maybe by ‘With-A-Twist’, what I really mean is ‘With-A-Sci-Fi-Element’. Reading Chew brings to mind one of my very favourite TV shows, Pushing Daisies. You’ve got a main character, Tony, who has a special power that affects his everyday life. He also uses said power to help reconstruct crime scenes and solve cases, just like Ned. It’s also darkly funny and, not gonna lie, a little messed up in places. I love the whole story of chicken being illegal and people having what are essentially chicken speakeasies, and there’s also some romance introduced in the first volume, basically Tony’s soulmate, so it’s going to be fun to see how that plays out.
The artwork is clear and colourful and at times rather graphic. Guillory doesn’t shy away from depicting, say, dog carcases, severed limbs, and the accompanying vomit, in all their glory. And that ending. I was enjoying the first volume the whole way through, but that ending pushed my star rating up to a 5. I had to read on.