Law enforcement has to be one of the toughest jobs on the planet. Not only do you have the bad guys trying to take you out on a daily basis, but the lifestyle probably doesn’t sit well with family members and loved ones. Such is the life of Tony Chu, whose unique powers have him hunting down those who would sell illegal chicken.

CHEW #16
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Rob Guillory
Colors: Rob Guillory
Letterer: John Layman
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $2.99

Previously in Chew: And here I thought my family holiday get togethers were uncomfortable. I wouldn’t want to be Agent Chu for anything at this point. Not only is his brother suing him for a broken jaw, but his best friend and partner shows up to introduce the family to Tony’s girlfriend. And to make matters worse, the golden child of the family thought it best to cook up a turkey fro the meal. Could it get worse? Well, when the readers and Chu’s girlfriend suddenly discover Chu has a daughter, things do change – especially when former agent Savoy narrows his sites on the Chu family.

THERE’S A REASON IT IS AN EISNER WINNER

While Layman could have stretched out the gag with Tony’s powers and had him solve mystery after mystery each and every issue, Layman’s creative mind has found new an interesting ways on introducing other characters with similar powers, and changing the universe ever so subtly – or not so subtly in this issue – that the weird and wacky things that pop up seem rather natural in the grand scheme of things.

The latest story has a giant message scrawled across the sky in big flaming letters, in a language that no one has been able to decipher. This has caused most of the world to declare the end is near, or aliens are invading, or both, and in the process people seem to have forgotten that there is a ban on chicken. The only lead Chu and his current partner, Caesar, have is another FDA agent who is the smartest man on the planet as long as he’s eating.

Let’s just say it isn’t the prettiest of sights when the two find the agent and leave it at that.

The other thing that strikes me about Layman writing is that while he does introduce a lot of crazy stuff in this book, there seems to be a method to the madness. He’s building a continuity that is building to something larger. I enjoyed the moments where Caesar shows he still working with Savoy, and I like that Savoy’s once psychotic ways appear to be working for the greater good. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Chu and Savoy have to come to terms with one another soon in order to save the planet.

Layman has a knack for keeping the reader informed, while keeping many of the bigger secrets hidden, and the way he handles his characters is near on perfect. Each character has a unique voice, and when it comes time to couching a character for an issue, he does it in a natural way that doesn’t seem forced at all.

THE HUMOR IS IN THE DETAILS

Beyond the moments where Layman slides in a great gag in the dialogue, series artist Rob Guillory fills the page with so much detail that I find myself looking for the in panel gags that might slip past those who are reading quickly. The clutter in the world of Chew is so detailed, with everything placed just so, that if you don’t spend a little time taking in all the wonderful work Guillory is putting into the page, you are missing out on one of the most important character’s in the book – the World of Chew.

Sure Guillory can get a little graphic when it comes to vomit, blood and guts, and five ton men jumping out of the window and going splat, but that’s why the issue has a mature reader tag.

BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT

This issue kicks off a whole new arc, and as always there are plenty of moments for even the newer readers to catch up on what is going on. The humor is top notch, the tale is interesting, and the continued twists delivered up in both the writing and art keeps me coming back for more. It’s worth your time to buy this issue and dive right in, earning Chew #16, 4 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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1 Comment

  1. Damascus
    March 21, 2011 at 3:20 am — Reply

    You want us to buy the issue so much that you wrote that paragraph twice. Nice. ;)

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