I like reading trades - it's like buying a DVD box set. And with the crazy stuff happening in this Chew arc, I'm glad I didn't have to wait a month for each new issue to come out. Althought Chu is our loveable loser protagonist, he has had some good luck - for example finding love with Amelia. In this story arc, he gets another bit of good luck - he's transferred to another agency where his boss doesn't hate him. This volume collects issues #21-25 so we're nearing the midway point of the series and the volume definitely feels that way. It feels like John Layman is putting all the chess pieces in place for the upcoming climax.
That's not to say there isn't plenty of Chew-tastic zaniness going on here. Agent Colby gets transferred to the USDA which, for some reason, is completely staffed by women in the Chewniverse. Everyone there gets an animal with bionic implants as a partner. Interestingly, that does make Colby fit in there a bit more than at the FDA. Speaking of the FDA, Caesar has a new partner who knows the ingredients of everything he eats. This trade also somewhat stars Olive Chu, who we met earlier, but who hadn't really done much yet. We get to see what her cibopathic powers are and her last scene leaves us wondering just what plans John Layman has for the series. And, of coursre, Tony Chu is forced to eat disgusting things.
In a way, because Layman appears to be setting everything up for the big climax, this is the most disjointed-feeling arc I've read in Chew. It's split into the Chu story, the Colby story, and the Olive story and they overlap in the most minimal of ways. And that is a little disappointing for me because my favorite thing about Chew is seeing Tony Chu play off his partners and those around him. Instead, everone's off on their own and, truth be told, the arc is barely even about Chu. And I think that's really the only negative I see to this arc. It's a necessity to tell the full story that Layman wants to tell and I'm sure it'll barely be noticeable when the entire series is out to read at once, but reading it in this chunk of issues, it stands out a bit.
Rob Guillory's art continues to rock. I love the style as well as all the little visual gags throughough the book. He also does a great job with facial expressions, something missing a little too often on a lot of comic books.
My gripes with the trade are so trifling and the book has so much humor that I think you really need to own this book. And if you don't have the first four trades, make sure you get those too!