REVIEW: Chew #30

by

Or – “Holy.  Shnikies…”

John Layman, you are a very, very bad man.  Your Major Spoilers explanation of why awaits!

CHEW #30
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Rob Guillory
Colorist: Rob Guillory
Letterer: John Layman
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Chew:  Tony Chu is a cibopath, a man who has the power to discern the history of something by ingesting it, and a former agent of the Food and Drug Administration (currently in a coma.)  His sister, Toni, is a cibovoyant, able to see the future of things through biting them.  Both Chu siblings have been enmeshed in a strange conspiracy involving the FDA, “bird flu” and an exploding space station (!!) and have been opposed by many strange folk, including a Russian cibopath who pretends to be a blood-sucker, known only as The Vampire.

A LIGHT-HEARTED, GOOFY WEDDING SCENE…

The issue opens with Toni Chu being dragged out of the dressing room before her wedding to deal with a disaster.  Her brother is fighting with the chef, a naked man is dancing in the cake, and the DJ has somehow managed to throw everyone into a tizzy.  The real highlight of this section (perfectly drawn by Guillory) is the sight of Secret Agent Poyo in a tuxedo, wandering around the wedding and cracking me up totally.  Toni then awakens from her daydream (with a caption from the writing that simply states “Sorry, folks.  This never happens.”) to finish trying on wedding dresses.  It’s a very touching sequence, filled with amazing emotion from Guillory, as she returns to the dressing room…  and disappears.  The amazing part of this is that barely 1/3 of the issue has passed and I feel like we’ve seen more than a full comic book worth of story and character bits, but also we’re given a sense of claustrophobia, and the art subtly darkens as we go, giving the implication that something is about to happen.

When it does hit, it hits hard…

KABLAMMAKUS!  MOOD WHIPLASH!

Every once in a while, somebody snarks in our comments section that “Your website is called Major Spoilers…  You should spoiler everything!”  While that’s a perfectly valid viewpoint, I want you to understand that I am not going to do that with this issue, for a couple of reasons.  Having missed a couple of issues of Chew, I wasn’t aware of the current status of things in the book, and while I had heard a couple of things about this issue being a shocking one, I was absolutely STUNNED by page 11 of his issue, to the point where I gasped out loud and frightened by whole family.  John Layman sets the tone so well that the BLAM moment comes out of the blue, and is one of the most powerful single images I’ve ever read in a comic book.  Toni finds her situation completely reversed, only to have outsmarted the villain of the piece with a Batman gambit of her own, before an even bigger “Holy crap!” moment follows.  This issue contains a sincerely shocking turn of events that I think you deserve to experience for yourself without foreknowledge or any more bias than I’ve already created with my wide-eyed wonderment…

THE BOTTOM LINE:  POWERFUL AND UNEXPECTED.

Chew is one of those books that I drift in and out of from month to month, a pattern that I also follow with Fables and The Walking Dead, and I always get a great deal of pleasure out of each.  (I also end up going back and re-reading all three books in order, though at the risk of being outed as a ‘trade-waiter.’)  Chew #30 changes the game in a very heavy-duty way, pulling off a double-twist, and closing out the book with the secret origin of Caesar, done in a way that evokes Charles Schultz without undermining the sheer eye-popping horror of the central third of the book, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I’ve you’re a lapsed Chew reader, pick up the last couple of issues with this one, and try to avoid spoilers before you do it.  It’ll be worth the trip…

Rating: ★★★★½

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