"Chew: Volume 2 - International Flavor" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Originally published as Chew #6 - 10
Written by John Layman
Illustrated by Rob Guillory
2010, 128 pages
Trade paperback released on June 22nd, 2010
(By reading this review, I'm assuming you've read Volume 1 of Chew. If not, go do that before reading this review because there's going to be some spoilers ahead. You've been warned.)
While the second volume of Chew picks up right where the first left off, it plays with some different plot threads, leaving some others to stew in the background for a few issues. Tony Chu's former partner is his new partner now that Savoy has flew the coop. Colby has been made an agent in the FDA and has been given some robotic enhancements since his face met the business end of a butcher knife in the first issue of the series. Chu and Colby form the perfect buddy cop duo: Chu filling two roles as both the by-the-book officer and the minority, while Colby is the reckless showboat...who now has a computer in his head. The pair of them stumble upon a restaurant serving outlawed chicken, or rather what tastes like outlawed chicken. Instead it's a fruit. Yup. A fruit that tastes like chicken.
This intrigues Chu and he goes out in search of this new fruit's origins on his own. He ends up on a small island where a group of chefs are gathering or being kidnapped depending on who you talk to. He also has a run in with a special agent from the USDA on the trail of a mass-murderer. Chu finds the missing cooks but he's not alone. There's also a vampire.
So now we have a guy who gets physic vibes from anything he eats, a super special secret agent from the USDA that would give the Black Widow a run for her money, Robocop with an attitude and a vampire. And let's not forget the weird chicken fruit. If all of this sounds complicated, I assure you it isn't. Author John Layman does a fantastic job weaving each of these elements together to make this flowing fast-paced story. Things that felt like throwaway lines in the first volume are given time to grow here and serve to develop the overall arc. While Savoy is only briefly mentioned, he doesn't show up at all. Instead, we're introduced to someone that will most likely become the main villain in the series in the vampire.
The art by Rob Guillory continues to fit Layman's story beautifully. There's still a cartoony feel to it, but it works well. Chew is a fun book and there are numerous laugh-out-loud moments. Guillory's pencils and his attention to detail really add fuel to that fire. His process is highlighted in the back matter included in this collection. There are some character designs, thumbnails of several pages, and an unused cover to one of the issues.
Chew is easily one of the best comics to come out in 2010. Its single issues blew up all over eBay when they sold out at stores and after reading the first two volumes, I can see why. At its heart, it's a cop story, but it's a cop story with robots, vampires, secret agents, and several meals where the dead are the main course. This is what the comic book industry needed: A book that doesn't take itself too seriously.
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