Publisher: Image — Writer/Lettering: John Layman — Artist: Rob Guillory
Recently another EatYourComics writer shared a review of Chew #30, which you can read here. One of the things I like best about comics is the diversity in material. Jonathan didn’t like the flavor of Chew #30, and he provides some very compelling reasons why. Had I never read an issue of Chew, I would think this comic to be completely insane. I totally understand where he’s coming from, but I’m going to provide a second opinion review from a different perspective.
Chew #30 is the culmination of extensive groundwork laid by previous issues. As I previously wrote in my article 6 Comics to be Thankful For:
Chew tells the story of a detective Tony Chu, who happens to have the weirdest gift you can imagine: Tony is a Cibopath, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. If he eats bacon, he’ll know what it was like on the farm where the pig was raised. He’ll also know how the pig felt when it was slaughtered. (As you might guess, Tony doesn’t each much meat.)
Chew’s writer, John Layman, has previously stated that Chew is a story with a defined beginning, middle and end. Chew is going to last 60 issues. So you see, everything that has occurred in this quirky series so far comes to fruition in issue 30, the halfway point in the series. At this point we know the cast, we know the score, and we know little details that stitch this story together.
For example, Antonelle Chu, the main character’s sister, happens to be cibovoyant – a fancy way to say that she sees the future if she takes a bite out of a person. Issue 29 left us with a bad omen when Antonelle took a bite out of her finance and secretly had a look of horror on her face.
The villain in Chew is a cibopath (like Tony, Antonelle’s brother) who has been absorbing the gifts of other people for several issues now by, gruesomely enough, eating them. He’s branded himself a vampire, and he’s left a streak of dead people behind him to prove it.
There are so many small subtleties in this issue that prove the writer, John Layman, has been plotting the details of the story from the start. For example, when Antonelle sees her unfortunate fate as the villain [spoilers redacted to protect the innocent!] she begins to eat (excessively) the one food that blocks a cibopath’s power: beets. This subtle detail brings the story together for fans of the series who have been reading since issue 1.
Is Chew for everyone? No way. You need to possess a specific brand of humor, and you’ve got to appreciate the whimsical artwork. Chew isn’t like any other comic published today, and that’s precisely why I love it. If you want to get a real idea of what Chew is all about, and what makes issue 30 triumph, start with Chew Volume 1, Taster’s Choice rather than trying to pick this story up somewhere in the middle. Chew is much like a fine meal, where the appetizer is an important prelude to the main course.
To me, Chew issue 30 is the fantastic culmination of a great deal of groundwork, and the payoff for long-time fans. It is the perfect hinge around which the rest of the series will turn. I give Chew #30 five stars.