Saffron Chu may not be a cibopath like her brother, but that doesn’t mean she lacks her own talents…  Your Major Spoilers review of Chu #1 from Image Comics awaits!

CHU #1

Writer: John Layman
Artist: Dan Boultwood
Colorist: Dan Boultwood
Letterer: John Layman
Production Deity: Deanna Phelps
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 22, 2020

Previously in ChuTony Chu is a cibopath, able to get psychic impressions from what he eats.  Saffron Chu is a cibopars, able to learn secrets from who she eats with.  Tony is a cop.  Saffron is a criminal.  They are brother and sister, and they are on a collision course!


We open in the den of a crime lord who calls himself (at least for now) Mr. Boss, as he assembles the perfect crew for revenge on one of his rivals.  Each member of the gang eats a cake in the shape of the target building (the better to know all the ins and outs)  as well as a special meal designed to help focus all of their talents.  They’ve got a driver, a thief, a sniper, some muscles and the brains of the outfit, one Saffron Chu, known as Mrs. Smart.  It’s Saffron’s power to share the memories of people that she eats with that has given them all the intel they need, allowing the crew to succesfully pull off the first phase of the plan, after which…

Well, after which it gets pretty gross, as the team member start getting sick, save for Saffron and her partner, who eat only the beet salad, and the rival crew returns with their own terrible food poisoning.  Violence enses, and once the smoke clears, the crime scene is surveyed by the police, including Saffron’s brother, Tony Chu!


I was a little leery of this book going in, as the main reason that I never read ‘Chew’ regularly was the discomfort with the character’s powers and the various eating/vomiting sequences.  This issue still has those, in spades, but it’s handled in a manner that doesn’t turn my stomach.  Part of that is Boultwood’s art, which is slightly less textural than Rob Guillory’s, and part of it is a very specific color palette that keeps things from getting too gross with bright pinks, blues and greens rather than vomitous earth-tones.  The story moves quickly, too, creating a sense of palpable tension that lasts all the way through, especially in the final scene, where Saffron heads home for family dinner, only to find her brother waiting in the kitchen.  I’m not sure if this is a miniseries or an ongoing book, but I like the idea of an ongoing story featuring a cat-and-mouse game of criminal sister and police brother sounds like a lot of escapist fun.  Even if it’s just a miniseries, this issue is strong enough that I think I’m in for the duration.


All in all, though, Chu #1 hits a sweet spot for me as a reader, combining strong art and storytelling with a plot that moves quickly but never misses the important beats, earning a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars.  I don’t know if you should call it a sequel, a prequel or a continuation, but regardless of the name, this is a good comic and a good first issue.

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CHU #1


I like the premise and the story moves at a fast enough clip that I was engaged all the way through, all combined with strong art for a well-done debut issue.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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