Chew 1: Taster’s Choice

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Clever and interesting concept

A bit too clever for its own good, could see it heading for a quick burnout

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Chew

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  John Layman

Artist:  Rob Guillory

# of Issues:  5

Release Date:   2009


Chew #1

Reprints Chew #1-5 (June 2009-November 2009).  Tony Chu is a cibopath.  He can taste something an instantly knows its story.  This makes it hard for Tony to eat anything…except beets.  All Tony has to do is take a bite and he gas visions of how the item came to be in his mouth.  This has its advantages as a detective…if he’s willing to take a bite of the victim.  Now Chu has been contacted by the FDA and placed on a special crime unit.  Within the FDA, Chu learns he is not alone and another agent named Mason also is a cibopath.

Written by John Layman, Chew Volume 1:  Taster’s Choice is an Image Comics series.  The comic book features art by Rob Guillory and was awarded the Eisner Award for Best New Series and the Harvey Award for Best New Series and Best New Talent.  The issues in this collection were also collected in Chew Omnivore Edition—Volume 1 and Chew Smorgasbord Edition—Volume 1.

Chew became an instant success.  Loved by critics, the story took a surreal approach with odd murders and a Law & Order approach to solving them.  The story is really gruesome but done in a tongue-in-cheek style.  The idea of a character that can eat anything and does eat anything is pretty gross.  In this collection, Chu eats pieces of people and an old dead dog.  Through these strange eating habits, he solves the bigger crimes but uncovers more.


Chew #5

The story also introduces the idea of a saboscrivner.  Chu is unable to easily eat anything but beets because of his abilities and introduced in this story is Amelia Mintz.  Mintz is set up as a love affair for Chu (although they only get to meet briefly).  Mintz can make people taste anything just by writing about it (and is a food reviewer as a result).  In the quirky nature of the story, this is the only one who really enjoys her harsh reviews is Chu.

The problem with Chew is that it tries to be too clever.  The writing is good and it is cleverly plotted but there are too many weird thing mixed in the very stylized format of the comic.  I’m ok with his name being Chu and him “chewing” to solve the problems because it works with the story, but add his brother being a famous chef, the chicken ban (and undergound market for them), and Mintz, and it is all a bit much.  Fortunately, the nice art and style helps it be more palpable for the reader.

Chew is worth checking out, but I am a bit hesitant to say it is worth following.  Having read this collection, I’d like to read more, but I am not in a huge rush to do it.  I could easily see it burning itself out of ideas rather quickly.  Chew definitely is an unusual series and comic book fans looking for a different read with some humor, should check it out.  Chew 1:  Taster’s Choice was followed by Chew 2:  International Flavor.

Related Links:

Chew 2:  International Flavor

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

4 Comments on "Chew 1: Taster’s Choice"

  1. Rob Guillory April 6, 2012 at 10:43 am - Reply

    “Potential burnout?” Can you really down the book for your own lack of imagination?

    Just sayin’… 🙂

    • JPRoscoe April 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      No, I know you mean, but I see faults in the premise so that is what I mean by that comment… High concept comics and television often start out awesome, but falter…Look at Heroes on TV or 100 Bullets in comic (though 100 Bullets I liked the plotting but was not a fan of Azzarello’s writing).

  2. Kim Peterson April 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Well it is still going strong after 25 issues, so I don’t think any quick burnout has taken place…

    • JPRoscoe April 6, 2012 at 11:59 pm - Reply

      True, true

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