Chew, Vol. 1: Taster’s Choice by John Layman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I finally got the last hardcover book and I can read Chew in its entirety. I’ve only read the first five trades. After that the anticipation was driving me nuts, so I resolved to wait until the series was done to read it all in one shot. That’s what I’ve just started this week. In the end, I’ll have a massive review of the series.
I first read this book in 2011, but I guess I wasn’t writing reviews on goodreads back then. However I did find my review on my blog. Here’s the original 2011 review (2017 review below):
When my younger brother explained the premise of ‘Chew’ to me, I thought it was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard. This guy can see memories of whatever he eats. So eating is a real pain for him because he feels the slaughter. He tastes the fertilizer used on the plant. How could anyone ever make a comic out of that? And it’d won awards? WTF?
Then he told me about how Tony Chu worked for the FDA and that they were essentially like the FBI in this comic world. And, after the bird flu, chicken was banned in the US and it had become like alcohol in the 1920s. My interest was piqued. Then he brought the comic over to my house. I really dug the art style. It looks similar to a style that the Penny Arcade guys have used from time to time.
He left me the first three graphic novels to read. After finishing the first one, I have to say that you NEED to read this. This book is a dose of creativity that’s missing from the mainstream comics. Don’t get me wrong – I’m reading and loving a bunch of typical super hero stories by the big two publishers – but we need a lot more amazingly creative ideas like Chew if we want to keep the comic book industry alive.
I don’t think it’s printed anywhere on the outside of the book, so just a fair warning that this is essentially an organized crime story. There are guns, blood, and crazy violence. There is profanity. This book is not for the dainty or for young children.
The first time I read this I was in WTF mode. Going back and reading this, Layman’s comedic timing is pretty incredible. The pacing and punchlines are great, even when it’s less of a surprise than it was the first time around. I also like the way Layman doles out the cibo-powers. One of my faves for this book is the hospital reveal. With knowledge of only the first five trades, it’s also interesting how much foreshadowing Layman packs into the first book. I don’t think I even gave the frogs all over the one scene much thought.