Graphic Novel Review: Chew Omnivore Edition Volume 1

Writer: John Layman

Artwork: Rob Guillory

Publisher: Image Comics


By Nolan Patrick Smith

(Victor Valley)–Comic books are full of heroes: superheroes, detectives, gods, goddesses, regular human beings, monsters, aliens, and more. But I think this is a first for the genre: meet Tony Chu: Cibopath. What’s a Cibopath? Someone who gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats, meaning he can sense where the item has been and what it has been through. Odd enough for you? Welcome to the world of Chew.

Design: This hardcover Omnivore Edition Volume 1 includes the first ten issues of Chew. The book is a sight to see, as it is brilliantly well done. The extras included offer insight into the change in creative direction of the characters from inception to print. All in all, this is another extremely well done hardcover collection for Image Comics.

Story: Chew is the story of Tony Chu, Detective for the Philadelphia Police Department, and a known Cibopath. By biting an apple, he can see the orchids it came from, and the journey the fruit made to reach the store. Likewise, he can take a bite of a hamburger and get a very different, violent impression. The world that Chew takes place in is different from ours: the bird flu has killed millions, making chicken outlawed as a food, but available through other shifty means. Chu is smack dab right in the middle of this world of illegal chickens, as his role quickly shifts from Detective to Agent for the FDA.

Full of action, humor, twists, turns, vampires, chickens, and more, Chew runs the gamut when it comes to creativity. The humanity in Tony Chu shines through with his clumsiness around women, a fun aspect for a man who goes in guns blazing but can’t seem to get a word out to a woman who has caught his eye. Besides Chu, the supporting characters all have fascinating aspects. From fellow FDA Agent Mason Savoy, Tony’s brother Chow, food critic and Tony’s object of affection Amelia Mintz to The Vampire, who, well, has sharp teeth, the supporting cast shines just as bright. Writer John Layman creates a world all its own, a world you will want to constantly revisit.

Art: Rob Guillory brings to life the words on the page, and he does so gracefully. Chew is Guillory’s first major work, and it is easy to see why he has garnered accolades from fans and fellow creators alike. The style has its own unique flare, with an abstract look to the characters and the environment as a whole.

Overall: I have been meaning to pick this book up, but for some reason I hadn’t until recently. Chew has won numerous Eisner Awards, the industry standard for excellence in the comic book genre, and I wanted to see what all the talk was about. Chew Omnivore Edition Volume 1 fired on all cylinders from start to finish. After reading this, I am definitely hungry for more. Highly Recommended, I give Chew: Omnivore Edition Volume 1 a ***** out of 5.

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