Friday, 7 November 2014

Chew #44 Review (John Layman, Rob Guillory)

The last few issues of Chew have been a bit slow with Tony being slowly edged out of the picture while his former partner Mason takes on his daughter Olive as his protégé. But, as the final page of Chew #43 revealed, things were about to get spicy in the kitchen – and do they ever in this issue!

Savoy, Caesar, Colby, Vorhees , Applebee and a ton of FDA officers arrive at the gates of The Collector’s place to take him down. But you can tell it’s not gonna happen – Tony AND Poyo aren’t there, and the Big Bad of the series always has to be beaten by the hero (and his chicken).

So John Layman does a Game of Thrones and begins culling the cast - I know, it’s pretty surprising! It feels so sudden that I kept thinking that this has to be some dream/hallucinatory sequence, but it’s not! 

Because most of the issue is The Collector vampire dude cutting through our heroes with a butter knife, chopsticks, and a pizza slicer, there’s not a whole lot to say. It’s grisly but the action is exciting, making a nice break from the comfortable pace that has been the rest of the Chicken Tenders arc so far. 

Then the FDA drops their secret weapon into the mix and it’s not Poyo (though of course there’s the now obligatory Poyo splash page in the middle)! It’s Babycakes, a squirrel with a cybernetic eye – who dies instantly! 

It’s a joke that falls a little flat because why send in someone so useless into the field? Why give a squirrel a cybernetic eye and then put him in a special metal cage? What was the cage for when it’s just a squirrel without the ability to bust out of an ordinary plastic cage? Was it because Layman and Rob Guillory wanted to reference The Manhattan Projects in one panel? It’s a very weak joke. 

For those interested in seeing behind-the-scenes to this issue, the guys eschew the usual letters/cat pics pages for a script/thumbnails breakdown of the comic. It’s pretty cool but if you’ve read your share of comics, you’ve probably seen the like many, many times before, so it’s unlikely to enlighten much. 

Chew #44 is an important issue to the series for all the nutty things that happens in it, and it’s also a very entertaining comic. Some readers - myself included - have wished that the series get back to the plot rather than follow these weird digressions, and I have to appreciate that that’s pretty much what Layman gives us with this issue. 

Onwards to the final battle - Tony Chu vs The Collector!

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