reflection

A rowdy, goofy, and brilliantly drawn start to this anticipated sequel series.
Writing/Plot
Art
Lettering

Review: John Layman Comes Back For Seconds in CHU #1

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Writer John Layman, writer of the massively acclaimed Chew series, teams up with artist Dan Boultwood to bring readers the first issue of “Chu,” a sequel/companion series to Layman’s original long-running tale of cibopath detectives. Layman’s sharp sense of humor, wit, and plot sensibilities look to have stuck around for this fast-paced blast of an opening chapter. Coupled with Dan Boultwood’s brilliantly cartoony art, “Chu” looks to be a satisfying companion to one of the most acclaimed comics of the past decade.

“THE FIRST COURSE,” Part One TONY CHU is a cibopath, able to get psychic impressions from what he eats. SAFFRON CHU is a cibopars, able to learn secrets from who she eats with. Tony is a cop. Saffron is a criminal. They are brother and sister, and they are on a collision course. Spinning out of the multiple Eisner Award-winning and New York Times bestselling series CHEW comes CHU, a felonious new food noir about cops, crooks, cooks, and clairvoyants.

Writing & Plot

John Layman‘s signature style stays present for “Chu” #1, with an opening chapter that is as absurdly fun as it is chaotic. Saffron Chu, the sister of Chew protagonist Tony Chu, adds not only a neat new power to this uh, “chew-niverse” but a great foil to the plot of the original series. Saffon using her abilities to be a criminal while having to deal with her cop-brother is a great character dynamic that also opens up what can be covered in this world Layman has created. This issue’s opening sequence with Saffron and a motley crew of thieves, as well as the following break-in scene, is a wonderfully goofy start that introduces new readers to the tone of this comic while still feeling very much like a Chew story for returning readers. Layman’s sense of humor and quick pacing make this first issue feel like a mix of an Oceans 11 style heist mixed with a Team Fortress 2 animated short. This first issue is a fast, highly entertaining read that is a welcome treat for both old fans and complete Chew newcomers.

Art Direction

Original  Chew artist Rob Guillory is not an easy man to replace as an artist and visual storyteller. However, “Chu” #1 artist Dan Boultwood serves not as a replacement, but as a new approach to a different take on this comic’s world. Boultwood’s cartoony, exaggerated art style is an absolute joy to behold and is as close to immaculate in execution as such a style can be. The myriad oddities of characters are all detailed in delightfully wacky form, while still being clearly human enough to be settled into the story. Saffron and Tony’s more vanilla designs aren’t a boring choice, as they fit into the more eccentric cast with the reader more ready to interface with them as characters. Boultwood’s action and gore scenes are as lighthearted and goofy as the rest of the book, to the point that when things get even a little bit serious it comes off almost like gallows humor.  The environments in “Chu” look as though they were rendered as animation cells by a studio, and they are perfect for this kind of comic. Boultwood’s colors offer much of what makes this comic look so good, with color gradients dominating pages and sequences to sell the atmosphere. This is brilliant work here by Dan Boultwood, and it’s sure to please any skeptical readers who can’t see this universe without Guillory’s art.

“Chu” #1 is a fast-paced, immensely fun read that returns to the world of John Layman’s  Chew with an opening chapter fit for both old fans and new readers. Layman’s script expands upon the fiction of his original series with a great new character and dynamic, while maintaining his classic sense of humor and plot pacing. Dan Boultwood’s brilliantly high-quality and cartoonish visual work is the perfect style for this comic to be rendered in. Whether you’re a fan of the first series or are just now entering the “Chew-niverse,” this is a stellar first issue to pick up from your local comic shop on 7/22!

 

 

Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.