Monday, 15 December 2014

Chew, Volume 9: Chicken Tenders Review (John Layman, Rob Guillory)

Tony’s hunt for The Collector, his sister’s murderer, is sidelined with personal matters and trivial cases that take him around the world. Meanwhile his friends and colleagues conspire to take down the dangerous killer themselves without Tony finding out. Will they succeed - and, if not, who will pay the price for failure? 

I wish I could say this ninth volume is amazing and wonderful and so on buuuuuuut… no. It’s not bad but it’s not great either. The first half of the book feels repetitive for no real reason besides treading water, which is basically what it’s doing. Then the second half is filled with some major WTF?! moments - especially THAT page - that feel rushed and ultimately kinda stupid. 

Tony’s daughter Olive is secretly being trained by Tony’s partner Colby, his former partner and criminal on the lam Mason Savoy, and Mason’s partner Cesar to become part of their task force against The Collector. Of course Tony would go mental if he found out his teenage kid was being put in harm’s way but especially since she’s going up against her aunt Toni’s killer. 

And that’s what really confused me: 1) why would they think they’d succeed, and 2) how would they think Tony would feel either way? If they succeed then he doesn’t have the closure of taking out Toni’s killer himself and if they don’t then he’s lost his daughter! 

Plus, you know Tony, as the main character, is going to defeat The Collector or at least be there when he goes down, so the result was predictable. That whole plotline didn’t make sense to me and felt forced into the book because the series has lately been a bit too casual in developing the main plot of the story.

Worse is THAT page - you’ll know it when you read it - which made the subtitle, Chicken Tenders, make sense but otherwise came out of nowhere! It was designed to be the suckeriest of sucker punches and felt cheap. 

Despite the muddled main story, there’s plenty of nice moments here and there like some of the characters getting hitched in (where else?) Vegas, and we meet Applebee’s (gross) extended family. The snowman with tattoos made me laugh for no other reason than he’s a snowman with tattoos though the Babycakes the squirrel joke fell totally flat. 

And then there’s the one unequivocally perfect issue in the book: Warrior Chicken Poyo, the spin-off Poyo comic! It’s a subversive Middle-Earth/Tolkien-esque story where Poyo goes up against the Grocerymancer whose killer vegetables are terrorising the little people. Without going into the delightful details, I’ll just agree with the wizard who says “Poyo is one bad-ass motherfuckin’ bird!”

Though John Layman’s script is average and too scattershot for my liking, Rob Guillory’s art is as perfect as ever. Layman’s rambling approach is almost worth it just to allow Guillory the freedom to draw the nuttiest things you’ll ever see in a comic! He really excels in the Poyo issue, especially with that panel where Poyo defeats the Grocerymancer. 

I wish I could say the ninth Chew volume is the best ever, etc. but in truth I felt it was very hit and miss throughout. It’s still good for a laugh here and there but, even though the main cast go through changes, I felt like the story just wasn’t that good. Still, I’m glad to hear that Chew is becoming an animated feature starring Steven Yuen (Glenn from The Walking Dead)! 

Now I’m off to mourn the loss of… well, you’ll see (sobs).

Chew Volume 9: Chicken Tenders

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