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32
CHEW Omnivore Edition, Vol. 1
Format: HardcoverChange
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2010
Awesomeness. I read the monthly issues of Chew, but I had to get this hardcover anyway. I love the series, and if you haven't checked it out, you're missing one of the best and funniest stories the comic medium can tell.

Chew blends food-centric cop drama with absurd comic sci-fi and cannibalism. Tony Chu is an agent for the FDA, the most important and powerful government agency, post the avian flu pandemic, which led to the ban and large-scale eradication of chicken and other edible foul. He posseses extra-censory powers based on things he ingests called cibopathy. He eats some pretty gross things to solve crimes and mysteries, but don't let his cibopathic abilities fool you, Tony does plenty of real detective work. As the story moves along at a sort of slow-burn pace, the much larger mystery about the bird flu conspiracy begins to unravel, and it's safe to anticipate many other surprises along the way.

The series has loads to offer, including awesome streamlined animated style artwork, that helps set the comedic tone and fits CHEW like a latex glove. Rob Guillory is one of the most skilled and creative artists in the comic scene today, and in many ways his style goes without comparison. The story's content isn't always pretty, and the art allows the reader to squirm and split their side at the same time. Tony's facial expressions after eating something particularly gross are always priceless, and every page is worth second and third looks to enjoy all the little hidden jokes.

I could say a lot about CHEW, that you've probably already heard:
It's fantastically crafted in every way. It's absolutely hilarious. Everything about it is fresh and original. The characters are unique, intriguing and most could probably have a comic series of their own. There's nothing else like it.

What's important about the Omnivore Hardcover Edition is it's totally worth owning. There is no dust jacket, instead they put the art right on the cover, which I think looks snazzy. The pages are bigger than the ones in the monthly series, and they're much thicker too. There's some great extra-material such as the original pitch for CHEW, some history behind Layman and Guillory's collaboration, early experimental sketches, a rough-draft version of the intro page showcasing an alternate darker style for the artwork, and a few other goodies too.

Also, due to the comic's unexpected but totally merited success, Layman, Guillory and Image Comics have decided to extend the length of the series from the original plan for 25-30 issues to somewhere around 60, which means there will be plenty more of these Omivore Editions to look forward to. Yeah!!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2010
Chew is original, exciting and dynamic. It is definitely not a comic you buy for your 8 year old nephew, but its much funnier than it is offensive. This edgy comic will keep you up laughing, and honestly you won't be able to put it down if you are anything like me (the gross moments are more over the top and interesting than they are disgusting).

On the quality of the book itself: definitely go for the omnivore edition over the paperback. The book will last much longer (this is going to be one you reread). Image comics does a great job making quality hardback books. My "Invincible" ultimate collection books have been borrowed and reread so many times and don't show any sign of wear to the binding. This book is worth having in hard back, especially if you want to start making a decent comic book library for yourself.

You can never go wrong in investing in quality for an Eisner award winner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2010
Detective Tony Chu is a cibopath, which means he gets psychic impressions from the food he eats. He can see how a piece of fruit was cultivated and what pesticides were used, or how the cows that became his hamburgers were slaughtered. Other times, his powers flash onto things far more heinous. Like a bowl of chicken soup that leads him to a serial killer who has targeted young women and hitchhikers across the country and uses their remains to spice up his dishes. Recruited by the FDA, now America's largest crime fighting agency after an outbreak of avian bird flu killed over 100 million people worldwide and prompted the U.S. to ban poultry, Chu is forced to use his unconventional gift to solve grisly, baffling crimes.

John Layman writes Chew with a healthy dose of humor, never getting mired down in the dark taboos that lie at the heart of this book. His mission, first and foremost, is to make the book entertaining. Rob Guillory's cartoony style assists in setting the tone for the book, giving it an upbeat, colorful aesthetic. Although the heart of the book is more Silence of the Lambs, visually it's more akin to Toy Story, and this animated appearance really helps to sell the tone and fun-factor of the book. Although it's gory and horrifying, it's never offputting, thanks to the illustrations.

Chew is a wildly entertaining work, rife with black humor and disgustingly fun scenarios. Equal measures police-thriller, sci-fi, horror, and comedy, this genre-blending book manages to throw in every ingredient from the kitchen pantry. You've got serial killers, Russian spies, illegal chicken dinner shacks, a government conspiracy (possibly involving extraterrestrials for good measure), cyborg cops, cannibals, and foodies. If these over-the-top ingredients don't make you the least bit curious, then you are missing out on one of the most original and fresh comic series to come around.

Layman slowly introduces his multiple concepts, delicately layering them to create a deeper over-arching construct to hang the plot from. In drafting this world without chicken, he's populated it with several memorable and enjoyable characters. Tony Chu is a terrific guide through these adventures, as he's often thrust into awful situations that produce a nuanced tension of both curdled disgust and surprising laughs. Chu's FDA recruiter, Mason Savoy, is a behemoth whose vocabulary and ferocity is as considerable as his mass. John Colby, Chu's partner, is described on several occasions as being the worst person alive, as he often has a wry, bigoted observation and is quick to anger, but the two have an infectious friendship.

This oversized hardcover edition collects the first two story arcs, "Taster's Choice" and "International Flavor," along with some neat bonus materials that help satisfy the cravings for more. In addition to the usual cover gallery, there are concept art and character sketches, and some unused promo materials. The best addition, though, is Layman's original series pitch outlining a few ideas for the overall story of Chew and its characters. Rather than spoiling what will come, it is instead a small appetizer for future servings.

The characters and world of Chew are an absolute joy to discover and spend time with, and the stories are just downright unique in their fusion of food, crime, and conspiracy. It's an exhilarating, heady stew of ideas and genres, blended together to create a daring new entrée--a book that is so over-the-top in its delivery and so subversive in its black, situational humor that it's impossible to not be charmed by it.

-- Michael Hicks
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2013
The deserved winner of multiple Eisner Awards (best new series of 2010, best series of 2011), I was both surprised and delighted with the first 10 issues of Chew. The art is very good, the dialogue is funny w/o being campy, the characters motivations are realistic and the story moves swiftly.

Set a few years after the Bird Flu has wiped out tens of millions of people around the world, Tony Chu is a detective who can learn the history of things (food, people) by ingesting them. He prefers not to eat anything other than beets (because he can't determine their history), but by the 2nd issue he is working for the FDA (the most powerful crime fighting organization in America now that chicken has been banned post-bird flu).

He has a partner, a crazy ex-partner, a jerk for a boss, a potential love interest, a famous chef brother (who loves chicken and has declared that the banning of chicken by the US Government was both fascist and motivated by money) and a host of people who want him dead. It's a great cop story with a number of never-seen-before twists.

A great, great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 13, 2011
Chew is an excellent new comic book series by writer John Layman and artist Rob Guillory. It features a detective called Tony Chu who is a cibo path which means he can gain knowledge of whatever he eats - for example if he eats an apple he knows where it was grown and what fertilisers were used; if he eats a hamburger then he finds out about the slaughterhouse conditions and how the cow died. He uses this "gift" in his policework to find out who murdered who and why. The only trouble is when he's caught taking a bite out of a corpse he loses his job.

He's then recruited by a government agency which allows him free reign of his ability and jurisdiction and he spends this new career putting away gangsters who are trafficking in chickens - say what?! That's right in this world the Bird Flu epidemic made its way to humans, killing tens of millions. The result was that poultry was outlawed but that hasn't stopped people from continuing to traffick them in the black market.

Joining him on his new career is his partner Mason Savoy as they set out to take down the chicken traffickers and find out the truth behind the Bird Flu epidemic. Also making an appearance is his superstar chef brother Chow Chu and Tony Chu's love interest Amelia Mintz.

This is a wonderfully original comic book and a brilliant read. The "Omnivore Edition" collects the first two volumes - "Taster's Choice" and "International Flavor" - into one gorgeous hardback along with a gallery of covers and sketches by the artist who designed the characters and the look of their world. Writer's scripts are also included.

I highly recommend this series to any comics fans who are looking for well written, well illustrated, original and clever comics. "Chew" has all of this in spades and is well worth your time. Here's hoping there's more to come!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 16, 2010
Let's start with the brilliance of the premise. Well, two premises: First, you've got a world that lives under poultry prohibition. As a result, poultry is the domain of underground crime syndicates. There are chicken speakeasies. Chicken gangsters. Chicken yakuza. And hardboiled egg dealers. Second, the only superpowers in this world are food-related. The main character, Tony, is a "cibopath"; he gets a psychic imprint from anything he tastes. His romantic interest is a food writer who induces the actual sensation of taste with her words. Another character is a chef who can communicate through food. ("His rendition of Il Trovatore brought tears to diners' eyes before they'd even had the second course.")

All of this is handled with just the right tone, a mixture of silliness and horrific darkness that's somewhere between Y: The Last Man and Umbrella Academy. The underground poultry economy is depicted richly enough to remind you of the absurdities of the war on drugs, but never sinks to heavy-handed allegory. And while this is a cartoon world in many ways, the characters are surprisingly developed and consistent.

This hardcover volume is comprised of the first two paperbacks ("Taster's Choice" and "International Flavor"), the first 10 issues of a planned 60-issue run. While the art looks fine in the paperbacks, it's absolutely stellar printed on these oversized pages. If you're a Penny Arcade fan, Chew's style will feel familiar--cartoonish, with strong, improbable curves, subtle textures, and a dash of grotesquery. It perfectly suits one of the funniest, most memorable comics I've ever had the pleasure to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2011
Chew is one of the most original comics I have ever read. It is set in the near future, where chicken has been banned, supposedly due to a large number of deaths from the avian bird flew. Enter Tony Chu. He works for the FDA and he has a special ability. Whenever he eats something, he gets visions of where it came from. This means seeing a cow slaughtered when he eats beef. But what happens if he eats a murder victim? Answer: he sees how that person died. This is just the set-up for a wonderfully written, twisted series that I highly recommend. I won't give any sort of spoilers, all I will say is pick up this book and you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2013
Easily the best series I've read in years. The art is awesome: I wasn't sure what it was until my wife pointed it out, but it reminds me of work by Jhonen Vasquez (Invader Zim, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Squee) and Eastman/Laird (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). And the story is a page-turner: the premise is both unique and hysterical, the characters are interesting, and I'm constantly wondering "what the hell comes next?".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2013
Excellently bound book, and the story and art is phenomenal.

It's dark and gritty but still very fun without being completely disgusting.

Highly recommend this series and this collection!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2011
I bought this book based on the positive reviews it was receiving.

Firstly, the writing of the book is good and original. The stories are compelling and you want to keep reading. There is a decent amount of depth to be read into the stories. I have to say the writing style of the comic, and the way certain new elements are presented, remind me of the T.V. show Pushing Daises. It even has the same type of playfulness and humor at times. Layman manages to capture multiple voices very easily and creates a unique feel to each character.

Secondly, the art is very well suited to the book. It has a playful aspect to it which makes the book have a different tone than many other indie comics coming out. Good movement and backgrounds.

Thirdly, the book itself is amazing. Larger than a normal comic. Nice hard cover and thick pages. Extremely great presentation. String bound not glued.

Lastly, the reason I took one star off is simply it did not blow me away, and although there is still room to expand this book into a 5 star read, it will need some work to get all the way there. Some nice plot points are set up in the first ten issues collected here I cannot wait for the next one of these Omnivore editions to come out.
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Chew Volume 1: Tasters Choice
Chew Volume 1: Tasters Choice by Rob Guillory (Paperback - December 10, 2009)
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Chew Volume 2: International Flavor
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Chew Volume 4: Flambe
Chew Volume 4: Flambe by John Layman (Paperback - October 6, 2011)
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