Recommended Reading – Chew

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Not every comic book on the stands needs to star a hero in tight spandex who can punch the villain of the week through a building. Nor do you need a tricked out billionaire with too much motivation and dead parent issues. Sometimes, the craziest sounding ideas can be the best. And that’s how you get the madcap adventures of Chew.

Let me paint the scene for you. After the world got hit with an epic case of bird flu in their food products that saw 23 million people die, chicken and various other bird meats were outlawed. Naturally, folks still want some finger-lickin’ good food, which led to various criminals setting up underground chicken operations. The right back alley can lead to a speakeasy serving the crispiest of chicken wings, which means that crime just got delicious. And that’s where the FDA comes in.

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Thee food police just got more power after the bird flu epidemic and they’re more than willing to crack down on these operations using field agents such as Tony Chu. See, Tony has a secret. He happens to be a Cibopath, which gives him the power to access the memories of anything that he happens to have eaten. What that means is, that a bite of an apple allows him a glimpse of when that fruit was picked. Not bad right? Well consider this: A bite of a hamburger could also hit him with a memory flash of when the cow it came from was slaughtered.

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Needless to say, Tony doesn’t dig his powers, and he eats a ton of the only food that can’t give him flashes, beets. Those powers do come in handy though, with Tony regularly taking a chomp out of murder victims in order to gain clues as to how they were murdered, or even learn skills that they may have possessed.

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Sound crazy? Well Tony is quite possibly the most normal person in the series. See, he isn’t the only man on the planet with food-based powers. There’s a Voresoph who becomes smarter the more he eats, resulting in a massively obese man that speaks in quantum science.

An Effervenductor can control the weak-willed with mind-bending foams hidden in cups of coffee. A Saboscrivner can write about food so accurately, that you can actually taste their writing. A Cibocelerent can cook at unreal speeds. And there are far, far more characters and weird powers revealed throughout the series.

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Writer John Layman has created a massive world, where everything is connected. And I mean everything. Alien plants that taste just like chicken. The various food powers, agents, departments and conspiracies that unfold. And yet, you can pick up any issue off the shelves, and have a blast reading it thanks to solid writing that has created fantastic characters and scenarios.

But it’s Rob Guillory’s art that really complements this signature dish. It’s cartoony, it;s in your face and going over it reveals so many hidden details. It’s like the golden age of Mad magazine, but with a modern flair and some spicy ideas thrown in for good measure. Chew is a sum of all its parts, and it would be incredibly incomplete if any of the creative staff had to leave.

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And back to those characters. I dig Tony Chu. He’s a relatable person, who is constantly thrown into situations that no one would ever want to find themselves in, and despite being forced to work under an overbearing superior with greased up F1 pit crews under his armpits, he still manages to be the good guy.

Then there’s Jack Colby, a cyborg cop partner/loose cannon who’ll sleep with anyone, Tony’s sister Toni who breathes all manner of life into the series with her fantastic outlook on life and Mason Savoy, FDA agent and more badass than his massive frame would lead you to believe.

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And then there’s Poyo.

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Poyo is the Chuck Norris of comics. Poyo is all cybernetic chicken fury, with baysplosions for blood, a cock of the walk that would make Liam Neeson feel inadequate and an attitude that’d make Stone Cold Steve Austin wet his pants. Poyo is unstoppable, and will most likely survive until the universe runs out of time just so that he can kick the crap out of quarks. Poyo is quite frankly, the greatest badass ever created and a perfect reason to give up eating chicken.

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Chew is funny, witty and packed with enough extras in the regular printing to be classified as a collector’s edition comic book. There’s over thirty issues printed so far, and the taste is brilliant each and every time.

Want to get some comics? Then check out shops like AWX, Reader’s Den, Smallville Comics and Outer Limits for stock!

Last Updated: January 29, 2014

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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