Chew - John Layman, Rob Guillory (Review)


Amazon Summary: 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.

Rating: 2 / 5

Review: I read Chew and Sex Criminals back-to-back which was a very disappointing two days for me. I'd have to say I disliked Chew a bit more - less for political reasons, and more because it's just not my style, I guess. The story evolves around detective Tony Chu who is a "cibopathic" - it is explained to us that he receives psychic impressions about the food he consumes. Naturally, this leads to Tony being employed by the FDA. Why? Oh right, because while this universe already has food-related superpowers, it is also going through a chicken shortage. And the FDA is apparently spending a lot of time and resources cracking down on the illegal, underground chicken-selling market.

We meet Amelia Mintz (the love interest), who seemingly serves no purpose other than to give Tony someone to excessively drool over. She is a "saboscrivner". This means she can apparently write and describe food so well that people actually feel as though they are eating it. She uses this power to describe disgusting, rotting food so that their foes will vomit in times of peril ..... yeah (this was where I started to side-eye the book).

If my review sounds disjointed and over the top, you understand exactly how I felt while reading through this comic! After seeing the many awards and accolades it received I was expecting more than weak food themed world-building as a vehicle for amateur humor and excessive gross-out scenes. I've never been a fan of gratuitous potty humor and this brought little else to the table for me to grab onto. I got the feeling much of it is supposed to have a dry, tongue-in-cheek tone but I wasn't digging it. I can only stomach seeing someone eat an uncooked corpse so many times before I close the book - especially when I'm receiving little to no characterization.

Guillory's art is highly stylized, and was definitely the best part of the comic. It's not my personal favorite (a little too loud and cartoonish for me) but I would be interested to check out some of his other work and see how it comes across with a different story. If nothing else, it is very clean and well done.


Final Thoughts:If you don't like gross-out humor, you'll probably feel the same way I did. If that type of comedy is your thing and you dig it stylistically - give it a go. There is obviously an audience out there for it, even if it's not me.

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