Review: Chew #12

Published on July 17th, 2010

Are you into comics that have tons of violence, gore, sex and cannibalism but Crossed just doesn’t feel wacky and fun enough and you’re not so much into graphic rape?  Then Chew is the book for you my friend!

Chew is about Tony Chu (see what they did there?) who is an FDA agent in a world gone mad where, due to bird flu epidemic, there is a prohibition on chicken and chicken products and the FDA is now one of the most powerful branches of the US government.  What makes Tony Chu special is the fact that he is a “cibopath.”  He gets a psychic impression from everything he eats.  If he eats an apple he knows what pesticides were used on it, who picked it, where it’s been sitting, and so on.  For some reason the only thing he doesn’t get a psychic impression from though it beets, so that’s about all he eats.

chew-121Chew #12 finds Tony on the trail of Poyo, a world famous champion cock fighting rooster, who has been stolen over and over.  Tony gets assigned a new partner for this issue named D-Bear, a stool pigeon from earlier issues, who personally knows the last person to steal Poyo, a guy named Butcher.

Every issue of Chew has more than it’s fair share of weirdness but issue #12 starts out really odd: they start the book with page 18.  It doesn’t make much sense at first because it’s just some guy (who turns out to be Tony in disguise) holding a gun on a guy behind a desk who turns out to be Butcher.  Butcher hits a button that raises a bulletproof pane of glass out of the desk and tells Tony that he’ll probably only manage to fire one shot before Butcher’s body guards shoot Tony, so he should make sure it’s a good shot.  Then the book gos back to it’s normal time line until page 17 which says at the bottom, “This was page seventeen.  Page nineteen comes next.”  On page 19 we see the continuation from the beginning where we get to see just what Tony has chosen as the target for his one shot: the lock on Poyo’s cage.  Poyo proceeds to maul his captors to death, leaving Tony and D-Bear to wait for backup.

Chew is really a great book.  The creative team of John Layman and Rob Guillory do an excellent job of making a really great, wacky, funny book that still has a really interesting and at times rather complex story.  Once you finish reading any particular issue you must go back and look for the little jokes they leave lying around in the art. For example, there’s a dark alley in one scene of issue #12 and on the wall of there are two flyers.  One says, “Anal Sphincter – One Nite Only!” and the other simply says, “Alleys are SCARY!”  In another scene Tony (who is Asian) and D-Bear (who is black) are in a diner that has photos on the wall of famous interracial partners from cop movies like Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy from Beverly Hills Cop.  Another panel shows pictures of Danny Glover and Mel Gibson from Lethal Weapon.  This book is just getting better and better.  Go get the last 2 trades so you can catch up if you haven’t already.

Ian Candish