Archive for Chew

Blue Plate Special

The most unexpected dose of fun this week came in a single comic book — or rather, two comic books crammed into one. Chew/Revival and Revival/Chew were two complete stories combined into one awesome flipbook. Let’s take a look at the menu…


Chew/Revival #1

So in the comic written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory — the guys behind “Chew” — Tony Chu, the FDA detective who gets psychic impressions from everything he eats, pays a visit to Wausau, Wisconsin with his partner, the cyborg John Colby. They’re investigating… something about a chopped-off hand? For some reason, that just led them to the Reviver capital of the world. That leads them to a morgue full of dismembered corpses and a recently sewn-together reviver, and then to a local chef with an extra arm.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a severely weird story, and it often doesn’t make a lick of sense. But it does everything that a “Chew” story should do — it delivers funny, morbid, slapstick weirdness, and that’s a good thing.


Revival/Chew #1

And on the other side, with Tim Seeley and Mike Norton handling the creator chores, John Chu is in Wausau on a different case — helping investigate some grave robberies. Chu is along on this one because many people think reviver parts could grant immortality to anyone who eats them. And Chu’s investigation leads to some weird stuff. He eats a little snow — and discovers that the ghosty-aliens around the county are actually human souls. And snacking on one stray fingernail leads to the discovery that someone is digging up all their old friends and holding a barn dance. When Chu, Dana, and Ibrahim investigate the barn, they find a grisly waltz featuring a bunch of bloody, stitched-together corpses.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Much more serious than the other story — and magnificently bloody and scary. Plus it features the epic crossover of Poyo the cyber-chicken from “Chew” with Lying Cat from “Saga.” Definitely worth the price.

Again, folks, that’s two excellent comics, slightly less than full-length, all in one package, for just five dollars. Go grab it, kids.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • To think — we could’ve had the brilliant Edgar Wright making a superhero movie for us — and Marvel went and pulled a DC Comics on us.
  • There’s a Kickstarter to bring “Reading Rainbow” back. I don’t even have kids, and I kinda want to back that one.
  • On a much more serious note: Basically, these people sit around all day and talk about their plans to write manifestos and kill as many people as they can. For some reason, no one calls this terrorism, and no one arrests these people making plans to commit terrorist attacks. Because they’re mostly white guys. And the people they hate with such endless, demented fervor is women.

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Friday Night Fights: Dignified Demolition!

Alright, short and simple tonight. Y’all know the rules, right? Friday Night Fights is all about the fightin’.

Tonight’s battle comes from July 2009’s Chew #2 by John Layman and Rob Guillory, as the very calm, very sophisticated Mason Savoy faces off against a bunch of mafia ninjas.

So there we go. See youse mugs next week!

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The Malign Murdersphere of Monsters, Madmen, and Motorcars!

Strange Science Fantasy #1

This was really, really nice, but I’m really not sure how to describe it. Think of it as a combination of a ’50s atomic horror movie and a ’70s teen rebellion drag race exploitation flick. It was written and illustrated by Scott Morse without anything like word balloons — just hyper-cool artwork and breathlessly excited captions.

Here’s the thing — I started reading this, couldn’t get into it, set it down, and moved on to another comic. After a few minutes, I realized what I was doing wrong. I picked it back up and started reading it out loud, with the voice of an announcer from a ’50s sci-fi movie trailer and with an internal soundtrack by Rob Zombie.

At that point, lines like “The time: Soon! The place: The asphalt! The world of speed-demons would complete their final lap on a crash-course… with destiny!” made perfect, flame-scorching, skin-flaying sense. It was the least passive comic I’d ever gotten to read, and it felt awesome.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not just for Scott Morse creating an epic, cinematic comic, either. The actual tactile feel of the book is great, too — not your usual glossy paper, it’s rougher and heavier, and it feels like a pulp novel in your hands. IDW Publishing did a great job with this one.

Somewhat off-topic, but big kudos to IDW, Dark Horse, and Boom — they’re the companies doing the best work to move comics forward as an art form and storytelling medium, not Marvel or DC.

The Unwritten #15

Lizzie Hexam has returned to her original home — which may be inside some Dickensian novel. Apparently, she was pulled out of it and offered a better life in the modern world as someone who would study and keep track of Tom Taylor. Now she briefly gets stalked by some London lowlifes, but she dispenses with them with some well-aimed shots from her very modern gun. Meanwhile, Tom and Savoy are being led around the city by a series of clues — each is a reference to a famous work of British literature that sends them to a new location in London. But eventually, the police catch up to them and realize they’re dealing with the infamous murderer Tom Taylor — and then the vampiric Count Ambrosio attacks. But they’re finally saved by Wilson Taylor himself, Tom’s long-missing father and the author of the world-famous Tommy Taylor novels. But isn’t evil literary assassin Pullman looking for a chance to rub Wilson Taylor out?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not the best issue of this series, but still pretty good. Good dialogue, decent action, fun clue-tracking, and it’s nice to finally get a glimpse of Wilson Taylor himself.

Chew #12

Tony Chu, cannibal for the FDA, is enjoying cohabitational bliss with his new girlfriend, Amelia Mintz, the world’s greatest and most vivid food reviewer. But he’s called away so he can help the FDA track down Poyo, a rooster in a luchador mask who is the most devastating cockfighter in history. (I can say “cockfight,” can’t I? Cockfight. There, I did it. HA HA.) Poyo has been stolen away by some crooks, so the FDA assigns Tony to go with one of their more rotten stool pigeons to try to buy the bird back. But the crooks have personal grudges against the stool pigeon, and they’re willing to let Tony get killed in the crossfire. Can Tony use a single bullet to get free?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very clever story, lots of amusing situations, and a great cliffhanger. And it’s nice to see Poyo again — can’t go wrong with a luchador chicken…

Today’s Cool Links:

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Booster Pack

Booster Gold #33

This whole issue won’t make a lot of sense to you if you’re not up on the current “Justice League: Generation Lost” miniseries, where Maxwell Lord has boosted his psychic powers to the point where he’s been able to erase his existence from the memory of almost everyone on Earth, except for a small number of former Justice Leaguers. (I’m not reading it ’cause it’s written by Judd Winick, who seems to work by vomiting onto his script pages, then sending that in to DC.)

Anyway, after Booster knocks the stuffing out of a Scottish supervillain named Brigadoom, Cyborg shows up and gives him a lot of hassle about the old JLI, which triggers a very satisfying verbal smackdown on Booster’s part. The incident inspires him to try to figure out a way to prove that Max Lord really did and does exist, and he hits on the idea of traveling to the past and digging up some info about him before he publically went bad. Can Booster successfully infiltrate his own past, and can he find the information he needs?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The cover makes it look a lot more dangerous than it really is — most of the perils Booster faces in the past are generally on the level of Extremely Embarrassing and less Extremely Deadly. And we get some very nice stuff with Martian Manhunter uncovering Booster’s secret identity and Black Canary looking for revenge for a drunken interview Booster gave to a lad rag.

Chew #11

Tony Chu, cannibal FDA agent, gets a lead on a murder case that points to a group of extremely wealthy powerbrokers who like to get together occasionally to eat endangered species. So he uses it as an opportunity to take his semi-girlfriend Amelia Mintz on a date. Dude, police business isn’t usually the most romantic settings in the world, Tony — especially when the guns and knives come out…

Verdict: Thumbs up. A good funny story, with the romantic subplot finally moving into the forefront.

Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #3

Black Widow and the Vision learn of a blackmail scheme orchestrated by a couple of supervillains called Diamondhead and the Owl and, frustrated with their recent treatment by other members of the Avengers, decide to take on the case on their own.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The plot sounds a bit light, but it’s buoyed up by a lot of smaller-scale interpersonal stuff that’s really enjoyable — Vision extracting someone’s keys from a locked car, the banter between Reed and Sue, most of the interaction between Thor and Nova, and Nova’s reaction to someone else fighting “his” villain. The Vision’s anger that no one accepts his chosen name is well-done, too.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Bunnies Aren’t Just Cute Like Everybody Supposes…

The Unwritten #12

This was one of my favorite comics from last week, ’cause it’s got such a great hook.

We don’t see Tom Taylor or any of our other main characters this week — our focus is on Pauly Bruckner, a guy who’s stuck in a very bad situation. Pauly used to be a normal guy, a bit dishonest, who once made the mistake of breaking into the home of Wilson Taylor, famous author of the “Tommy Taylor” novels. And now Pauly is a bunny. A cute fluffy bunny with long ears and twitchy whiskers and a smart vest and a darling cravat and his home in the side of a hill in Willowbank Wood. Pauly hates Willowbank Wood, he hates living in a syrupy-sweet children’s story, he hates the other animals who act like twits and get nervous when he swears and tries to kill them, and he’s willing to do anything to get his old life back.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s like a hard-boiled crime novel taking place inside “House on Pooh Corner.” Does that make it awesome? Oh, heck yes, it’s awesome.

Daytripper #5

Brás de Oliva Domingos is now 11 years old. He’s living a pretty happy life, hanging out on his grandparents’ ranch, eating, listening to stories, flying kites, staging duels between beetles and frogs, and telling his cousins his favorite family story — that he was born dead during a blackout, but miraculously returned to life at the same time as the lights came back on. And in the end, something that is, by now, very much expected, comes to pass.

Verdict: Thumbs up. An interesting change of pace here — a look into Brás’ childhood. By now, I think it’s safe to tell this series’ special gimmick, yes? In each issue, we get some important day in Brás’ life, and at the end of each issue, Brás is killed. And it’s interesting that this may actually stem from his death and rebirth as a newborn. Anyway, great story, very charmingly told, and wonderful artwork. Please go pick up this series — so far, it’s been a great ride.


Chew #10

FDA agent/cannibal Tony Chu is running around the tropical island nation of Yamapalu, trying to keep himself, the girl he loves, and his brother alive in the middle of a rooster-inspired civil war. And it’s all complicated by a freakin’ vampire. Is everyone going to survive, or is somebody going to get their face eaten off by a freakin’ vampire?

Verdict: Ehh, thumbs down. This one just didn’t have the same oomph that the rest of the series normally has.

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Food for Thought


Chew #9

Tony Chu is a secret agent for the FDA with the unusual ability to retrieve pscyhic impressions from anything he eats. He’s traveled to the small island nation of Yamapalu on the trail of a mysterious fruit that tastes just like chicken, but he’s stumbled onto something much bigger, with corrupt cops, corrupt governors, secret conspiracies, and multiple murders. The culprit? Well, Tony takes a few bites out of the corpses in the morgue and finds out that it’s… a vampire? Wait, surely there can’t be vampires in a perfectly logical world of psychic cannibal FDA agents, chicken fruits, cyborg cops, and other normal stuff like that, right? Well, the vampire is planning to attack the governor’s compound. No problem for Tony, right? Nope, his brother, a famous but disgraced chef, is there. The girl he loves, an impossibly talented food writer, is there. And there’s another chef, a guy who communicates entirely through cooking, is there, too. Can Tony save them all in time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m really enjoying this, ’cause we’ve got all these wonderful oddball characters, all thrown into the mix together. It’s a lot like a stew — a really weird cannibal-cyborg-vampire-tropical-cop-foodie stew. Aaaaand I think I’ve hopelessly killed the metaphor, so let’s move along.

Wonder Woman #41

A bunch of evil mind-controlling schoolboys have turned Power Girl against Wonder Woman. There’s quite a bit of slugfesting that goes on before Wondy is finally able to break PeeGee free of the spell, and then they’ve got a couple problems to worry about — Power Girl has to try to be diplomatic and convince a whole lot of people not to riot and kill each other, and Wondy has to track down the evil schoolkids, resist their spells, and dish out a proper punishment. And is anyone going to be able to save Etta Candy and Steve Trevor from killing themselves?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A pretty good slugfest combined with good characterization for both Wondy and Power Girl. We also get a nice moment with Achilles at the beginning and a neat callback for anyone who remembers their history of the Trojan War

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Going Green

Astro City: The Dark Age, Book Four #1

It’s 1984, and Charles and Royal Williams are still after Aubrey Jason, the man who killed their parents decades ago. They’ve given up their former lives and turned themselves into semi-paramilitary vigilantes, scavenging equipment, weapons, transportation, and even a base from former villains. But while the ’80s may look sunny and upbeat, times have actually gotten a lot darker, with more heroes willing to kill randomly, more monsters raging on the streets, more murderous gangs — is it all being caused by something evil hidden away from sight? Charles and Royal meet up briefly with the Green Man, a plant elemental, Gloo, a sadistic blob, and Nostradamien, a criminal who can only see awful futures. The brothers pursue Jason to Las Vegas, but he knows they’re after him, and he’ll do anything to get them off his trail.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I really enjoy the Williams brothers — they make excellent protagonists, and their continuing evolution is fun to watch. The background is also pretty interesting, and as always, some of the background characters are people I wish we could learn more about, particularly the Green Man.


Chew #8

Tony Chu, a government agent who get psychic impressions from anything he eats, is visiting a tropical island called Yamapula on the trail of a mysterious plant that tastes like chicken. Why is that important? Because chicken has been outlawed in much of the world after a bad outbreak of bird flu. Tony is briefly tossed in the local clink because he was seen associating with a secret agent who was later found murdered. After beating on a couple of abusive inmates, Tony gets a taste of their blood, learns that they’re murderers, and leads the local police chief to the dead body and then on to where the criminal cartel has stashed the illegal chicken. Well, actually, it’s not really a bunch of chicken that you’d cook and eat — it’s a rooster. A rooster in a luchadore mask.

Verdict: Thumbs up. More bizarre, morbid, violent fun. Lots and lots of plot twists, most of them more bizarre than any of the previous ones, and more intrigue than you’d expect from a comic featuring a part-time cannibal, fighting roosters, and prison swirlies.

The Incredible Hercules #140

Hercules, Amadeus Cho, and the Avengers are still in the lobby of the Olympus Group, trying to stop Hera’s mad scheme to rewrite the universe. Athena has been turned to stone by Delphyne Gorgon, who delivers the statue to Hephaestus, craftsman of the gods, who intends to create a golden automata of the Goddess of Wisdom. Herc and Amadeus fight a robotic dragon, but are soon captured by Hephaestus, who pits them against each other in a test of heroism and friendship. But can any of them stop the secret betrayer who is working against all of them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great action, great humor, and some very clever problem-solving. As always, you should take the time to read all of Greg Pak’s sound effects, because they’re very funny. The backup story with the Agents of Atlas is okay, but mostly forgettable.

Blackest Night: The Flash #2

Barry Allen is just getting his legs as a new Blue Lantern, trying to take on zombified versions of Kid Flash, Firestorm, the Reverse-Flash, and Solovar. Meanwhile, the Rogues have invaded Iron Heights Prison and must fight off the Black Lantern zombies of former Rogues, including the first Mirror Master, Captain Boomerang, the Top, Golden Glider, the Trickster, and the Rainbow Raider.

Verdict: Ehh, not bad at all. I love seeing Scott Kolins do art for Flash comics, and I’m enjoying Barry’s reactions to joining up with the Blue Lantern Corps.

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Something to Chew on


Chew #7

Tony Chu, an FDA agent who can absorb the memories from anything he eats, has traveled to a tiny Pacific island called Yamapalu on the trail of something that tastes like chicken but seems to be a fruit. He immediately runs afoul of Lin Sae Woo, a curvy butt-kicking secret agent for the Department of Agriculture, who thinks he’s trying to take over a case she’s tracking on the island. After a violent confrontation on an elevator, they decide to work together, but there’s another player on the island who may be too tough for either of them to take down.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Funny and violent and rude and awesome. I’m disappointed that Tony’s cyborg partner Colby has already been pushed into the sidelines, but the rest of this is pretty good.


Chimichanga #1

Now here’s one that’s plenty-plenty weird, but it’s by “Goon” creator Eric Powell, so I figured it’s worth a look. The star of the book is an adorable little girl with a dashing and well-groomed beard. She lives at Wrinkle’s Traveling Circus, along with the other freaks, like Heratio the Boy-Faced Fish, Ezmerelda and her Amazing Two-Eyed Goat, and Randy, the Man with the Strength of a Slightly Larger Man. One day, she heads out to buy a delicious chimichanga, runs into a gassy witch named Dagmar, and trades a lock of her beard for a wagon and a big shiny rock. When the rock hatches into a big, hungry, pop-eyed monster, the little girl may have stumbled onto the perfect way to save the circus.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s funny and goofy and bizarre, but these two panels were all it took to win me over:


“Aw, raspberries!” Holy Spumoni, that’s just too cute.

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Cannibals, Cops, and Black Market Chicken


Chew: Taster’s Choice

This is a title I didn’t pick up at first — it got a lot of buzz right away, but a lot of the buzz was from some hardcore collectors, and I wanted to wait for some more measured opinions on the book to come out. But I did decide to pick up this trade paperback of the first five issues — it was less expensive than I was expecting, and that helped make it a lot easier.

The story is set in a world where the Food and Drug Administration has become a powerful law enforcement agency — because in the wake of a disastrous bird flu pandemic, it’s become illegal to sell, cook, or eat chicken. Our main character is a cop named Tony Chu who is a cibopath — that means he gets psychic impressions from anything he eats. That’s a little trouble when he eats an apple and learns what pesticides have been sprayed on it. It’s a lot of trouble when he eats a hamburger and gets to relive the memory of being slaughtered and ground up for meat. And it’s huge trouble when a chef cuts his finger while preparing a meal, and Tony suddenly learns that the guy is a serial killer. And when the chef commits suicide to take his secrets to the grave, Tony has to eat the guy’s corpse to find out where all the bodies are buried.

But while cannibalism might be a career-ender in many professions, it gets him recruited by the FDA and his new mentor Mason Savoy, a fellow cibopath — Tony can now take a bite out of an illegally-prepared drumstick and find out exactly where and when it was killed and cooked, allowing the government to crack down on chicken-producing crooks. From there, Tony meets up with his horrible new boss, chicken gangsters, the world’s greatest restaurant reviewer, and a bunch of kinky Russians, all with the guidance and protection of Savoy. But can anyone protect Tony when he turns up evidence of some really dangerous conspiracies?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Glad I got into this one. It’s creepy and weird and hilarious, and it’s got worlds of just plain awesome storytelling. The trade paperback is just ten bucks, so go pick it up.


Chew #6

And speaking of “Chew,” here’s the sixth issue. Tony has a new partner — or rather, his old partner from his days as a police detective. John Colby was along on the bust where Tony caught the serial-killing chef, but he got a butcher knife in the face and several months in the hospital. On the other hand, the FDA paid for his facial reconstruction and cybernetic augmentation — in other words, he’s got a cyber-face with an extensive sensory package and data-analysis capabilities. John and Tony don’t seem to get along at all, but they still get partnered together and dispatched to the scene of a bank robbery by Tony’s horrible boss, who wants Tony to eat some of the evidence left by the robbers. What’s the evidence? It’s, um, well, a pile. Of, ya know. Fecal material. Tony, unsurprisingly, absolutely refuses to eat it. But John has a solution in mind — good old-fashioned detective work.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice beginning to a new storyline. Nice to see some metahuman cops using regular detective work, too. And the real mystery doesn’t even begin until the last page.


Beasts of Burden #3

This issue focuses on the Orphan, a stray cat who hangs out with the dogs who make up the bulk of the four-legged paranormal investigators of this comic. He’s on the trail of a witch cat who helped them out once. She fled to the sewers, and he’s the only one small enough to follow her there. And that means he’s going up against a whole lot of unusually intelligent, unusually large, unusually genocidal rats. Can the Orphan escape with his fur in one piece?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Beautiful art by Jill Thompson and great storytelling by Evan Dorkin. A nice focus on the cat side of the equation on Burden Hill — most of the stories prior to this have been pretty dog-centric.

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