Chew is not a book I regularly read and I decided to check this one out, pretty much, on a whim. What a surprisingly decent starting point to a very cool series.
Chew is set in a world very close to our own, excepting the presence of Cibopaths: people with the ability to learn information from what they eat,including people. As a detective, main character, Tony Chu, finds this an especially useful ability and uses it for good. However, this issue isn’t about Tony; it’s about his daughter, Olive.
First things first. Our story for this issue begins with a man entering his incredible chocolate samurai sculpture in a butter sculpture competition. When the dude is disqualified because his entry is not crafted from the proper materials, the guy uses his real working chocolate samurai sword to murder everyone. You see, dude has the ability to craft weapons out of chocolate, and only chocolate, and they are completely comparable to the real thing. Including laser guns. This is silly and I love it.
Our plot escalates when it turns out that series villain, the Vampire, a Russian Cibopath of ill intent, intends to take the chocolate laser and the chocolatier’s life. Enter our heroes. Tony Chu is currently being tortured somewhere, which means his partner and fellow Cibopath, Agent Savoy, is training Tony’s daughter.
This is where the issue gets to be a really fantastic starting point for the series. The title page indicates that it is part four in a five issue story arc, but this issue does everything an introduction needs to do. Once an unobtrusive introductory page clues readers into the basics and we establish the threat of our villain, we meet Olive. A quick look at her home life gives us a lot of what we need to know about her character and then it is off to fight evil. As Agent Savoy explains to an unwitting Olive, he also explains to us that she could be the most powerful Cibopath of all time, possessing the ability to osmose the talents of those she tastes. We get introduced to a character’s secret identity, see her first time in a fight, and get a glimpse at the destiny before her. This issue makes a really strong case for why Olive may replace Tony as the protagonist of this series and I am pretty okay with that.
For longtime fans of the series, this book serves just as well, I should think. The villain is still new and interesting and the hero being introduced is new and has new abilities. No matter how you look at it, this book is treading new ground and it does it well. Action is mixed with comedy very well. There is even a South Park reference to go with the dismemberment.
The art has a fantastic cartoony style. All the characters are long and lanky, even the heavy-set Agent Savoy, who makes a fantastic juxtaposition against his thin co-stars. Faces are expressive and violence is spread liberally. It’s all great fun.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t really have any complaints for this book. It doesn’t hit the highs of some series I’ve read, but everything that it does it does very well. Chew #24 is overall a really solid book. Be forewarned that this book is not without language and gore, but, if that doesn't bother you, then it's hard not to recommend. If you read the series, then you know the score, but for newcomers, I encourage you to give this one a shot.