Review: CHEW #3

Chew #3

You are warned, here be spoilers.

This is a series that seems to have grown popular out of nowhere overnight, and I can definitely see why.

The premise is clever, and a bit silly – it’d be at home in a webcomic, or a Nickelodeon cartoon (well, except for the gruesome cannibalism and copious vomit). Tony Chiu is an FDA agent, in a (slight) future where poultry is banned due to bird flu. Tony has a strange ability that allows him to experience the memories of everything he eats. While this power sometimes aids him in investigating crimes, it also causes him severe trauma every time he tries to just sit down and enjoy a meal.

This issue introduces Amelia Mintz, a newspaper food critic. Amelia has the ability to describe food in such detail that her readers can taste whatever she’s describing. This ability turns harmful when she gets bored describing delicious food, and instead starts reviewing the nastiest, filthiest restaurants she can find. Tony gets sent in to the newspaper’s office when the paper’s readers start vomiting all over.

Tony, however, is enthralled. By experiencing food through her descriptions, rather than through actually eating it, he gets to taste it without experiencing the trauma that goes along with it. There’s a large panel near the end that shows Tony, grinning blissfully as he’s showered by vomit; a narration box reads “This was true love.”

The art is very indie-comedic. There’s a certain amount of Jhonen Vasquez to it; lines vary in weight from one end to the other, and objects that should have straight lines to them (buildings, ambulances, etc.) are slightly curved instead. You almost expect the scenery to be dancing slightly, like in the world maps in Super Mario Bros. 3. It works fantastically well for the story.

I’m not yet sold on the series; despite its nifty ideas, the story’s not quite grabbing me. I’ll continue on for a while yet.