Thursday, 19 January 2017

Chew, Volume 12: Sour Grapes Review (John Layman, Rob Guillory)

It’s over – the final Chew book is plated at last! So is it a satisfying finale? Eh… sort of.

The chicken conspiracy and the fire writing in the sky is finally revealed – but at a price. Tony endures tragedy and must make a dreadful choice for the future of the planet.

John Layman and Rob Guillory serve up the answers to their whopping twelve-volume storyline but because they basically waited until this last book to wrap everything up, the volume is heaving with inelegant, awkward info dumps! I was amazed to see that even in this final volume Tony and John were still pissing about with silly foodie cases too – it’s because of these that the series has dragged on for too long and why Layman has to rely on Mason spouting massive monologues to get his complete story across.

There’s yet another Poyo issue included where he saves Christmas from evil Santa and a Dr Seuss mash-up character. I guess it’s cute but to be honest I’m tired of these Poyo issues at this point. It was fun the first time, even the second, but now it’s just played out.

The first “ending” is unoriginal, basically ripping off the Watchmen dichotomy. The second and final ending though was plain bad. Really – that’s how you’re gonna end things? I guess it seems cool initially in a nihilistic way but when you think about its implications, you realise how it totally undermines the sacrifices of the first ending. Layman really butchered it. 

There are good things about this book too. Tony has some wonderfully poignant episodes with Amelia and John that were quite moving – John especially. The jump towards the future at the end showed a fun story with Olive and Ginny, and the landing ceremony was exciting. Also the reveals behind the devastating avian flu and the fire writing were more or less rewarding despite being rushed through. Tony’s journey takes several interesting twists as well.

Rob Guillory’s art remains the most appealing part of the series for me. His strength is in comedic over the top artwork but he shows he can draw some deadly serious scenes too and pull them off convincingly. Many of the pages in this book are beautifully drawn and the meatball Mason sub was an inspired and hilarious touch!

I loved Chew once upon a time but the series ran on way too long. I don’t get why it had to be 60 issues long except that I think they stated its length in the early volumes. But why say it in the first place – because some other titles like Y: The Last Man and Scalped also ran to 60 issues? Do they receive guaranteed regular income if they hit that number like how TV shows get syndicated when they reach 100 episodes?

These last few volumes have been mediocre at best and this final volume is unfortunately no different with a really stupid end scene. I’d still recommend the series to people but don’t expect the quality to remain as high as it was at the start towards the end; to everyone else who’s been following the title, lower them expectations for this final book. Sour Grapes indeed!

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