REVIEW: "Chew Volume 2 International Flavor"

When I went in to the comic shop on Wednesday, I knew I intended to buy CHEW Volume 2: International Flavor.  I promised myself that once I started reading it, I would only read one chapter at a time. I wanted to let each issue sink in and marinate the way they do when you read 'em as monthly comics. It was a good plan, but one ultimately doomed to failure... because once I started reading, I couldn't put it down.

for the uninitiated, CHEW is the story of Tony Chu, a federal agent with the power to sense the entire history of anything he eats (cibopathy). He works for the world's most powerful government agency, the Food and Drug Administration... that's right, since the overreaction to the bird flu made the consumption of any kind of bird illegal, the FDA can kick down any doors necessary to get at that contraband. After the events in the first volume, Tony's seen, experienced, and eaten a lotta weird stuff... The green-in-the-gills rookie from the previous volume is all but gone in volume 2, replaced by a leaner, meaner and more proactive Agent Chu who has earned his stripes (if not the respect of his boss) and seniority over his new partner. The creative team slyly levels Chu up, slowly and hints at the hidden potential of his powers.
 which is not to say he's always ready for the trouble he seems to run headlong into... International Flavor sees Tony follow a lead to a small island where he gets into two or three different kinds of calamity. Series writer John Layman does a great job chopping it up from scene to scene, sometimes flashing back or forward, introducing new characters and weaving together multiple plotlines. Likewise, Rob Guillory's art zooms in to reveal plot points, and is very well composed and easy to consume, despite the wildness in his lines and character design. The writing and art swing between cartoony and detailed, throwing out hints and clues that pulled me feverishly along.
In volume one we got to know and love Savoy, another FDA agent who shares Chu's rare power. There's only one other person known to possess this strange gift, and we meet him in International Flavor. Amid all the bullets flying and Cliffhanger chapter breaks, we are introduced to the mysterious Siberian cibopath whose demeanor is straight out of a horror movie, so we get to see how many ways the creative team can exploit the stomach churning possibilities of cibopathy. Faced with escalating stakes and more powerful and merciless enemies, we can only wonder how far Agent Chu is willing to go to come out on top...
So if you haven't figure it out yet, I definitely recommend you cop Chew: International Flavor. Any local shop should have it, as well as Volume 1: Taster's Choice. If for some reason they don't have them, click here to cop those joints on Amazon. whatever you gotta do, get those by any means!


Corance said...

I haven't read the 2nd volume yet, but the first was great. This is, along with Proof and Umbrella Acadamy, one of the most original titles out there.

samax said...

yes, I agree. You should definitely get your mitts on Vol 2 asap... or come to my house and read mine!

Arkonbey said...

Just pre-ordered this and Flight vol. 9 yesterday.

Chew #1 was awesome. The wife and I both devoured it in a single sitting, so don't feel bad about not savoring. That's for the second reading...

samax said...

yep. I can't rant enough about Chew. Apparently, no one else can either... it's pretty popular in the indy comics blogosphere... I'm just another link in the chain. But I wouldn't feel right if I didn't write about it!

I'm on my third pass on this book. I always start at volume one and read straight through... awesome stuff!

Jermey said...

super sick. still need to grab vol2 the first was legit.

samax said...

word. they got the story humming on all cylinders!

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