CHEW #40
Written by John Layman and Illustrated by Rob Guillory
Published by Image Comics

Reviewed by Avril Brown

The final installment to CHEW’s eighth story arc, ‘Family Recipes,’ delivers just as much heartfelt relationship-centric moments and vague plot development as readers would expect from such an amazing chunk of issues. With such a bittersweet and enigmatic ending, there is no telling where in the universe CHEW may take us next.

The twin sibling Chu are reunited!…on an alien world. Well, not really. Tony has eaten the specially prepared Gallsaberry fruit and he is tripping balls while having a conversation with his dead sister. Or, as Toni herself put it: “You’ve just eaten half a psychedelic space fruit, in full bloom, and at peak potency, then slow-cooked in the juices of genetically-engineered psychedelic amphibian. You’re really freaking stoned right now.” However, Toni is on hand to pass along some more important information about the mysterious sky writing which debuted several story arcs ago and what doom it may portend, in addition to some sincere advice for her brother, and an apparently shocking bit of news (still hush-hush) to her niece.

There’s also a hilarious side story as ghost-Toni encourages Tony to join his partner John Colby on a mission, despite the fact he’s still picturing himself as a blue bunny. Naturally Colby helps himself to a solid bite of the freaky fruit before heading out, and sure enough, wackiness ensues. And when it comes to CHEW, you know that is wacky, indeed.

Guillory gives us a lovely opening page look at Altilis-738, and Layman balances this story arc out nicely with some touching family scenes, great character growth and just enough plot development to keeping things moving, but still in the shadows. Readers should be looking forward to the next evolution!


Written and Drawn by Various
Published by Image Comics

Reviewed by Marc Mason

Lots of new stuff flowing out of the offices in NorCal. Let’s take a look at some of it, shall we?

All it took was one page for me to get sucked into THE MERCENARY SEA #1 by writer Kel Symons and artist Matthew Reynolds, and that was the opening splash page of the book. A gorgeous silhouette shot of a beach landing on a tropical island, it’s poster-worthy and it grabs your attention perfectly. The book itself them dives into a tale of 30s smugglers searching for treasure on the high seas and dodging the law along the way, and it’s a rollicking good time at every step of the journey. Cannibal tribes, rival pirates, double-crosses… all the components you’d expect from this sort of thing, and executed magnificently. As mentioned above, a big part of it is the work by Reynolds – as fun as the script is, Reynolds’ work takes it to another level. He demonstrates a flair for the material, and his use of color as a storytelling device is breathtaking. Looking forward to more of this, for sure.

If I had to summarize THE FUSE #1, I’d call it “HOMICIDE meets DEEP SPACE NINE.” Detective Dietrich arrives at his new home on a space station just in time to witness a murder victim drop in front of him. This leads to a madcap series of events wherein he meets his partner, dives into the investigation, bickers, and is assigned a murder of his own to take lead on… all before he can have a cup of coffee or even go to wherever his home is going to be. Crisp dialogue, fantastic milieu, intriguing mystery, involving and interesting characters… writer Antony Johnston and artist Justin Greenwood deliver it all in this one. I love the way they meld the genres and are able to stay true to the tropes of both while creating something that feels new. With all the hype around Image right now, this is one that flew under the radar a bit, but with something this good, people are going to swarm to it quickly.

There are different ways to tell a similar story. For instance, if you want to tell a story about a young boy going to a school that trains assassins, there’s the way Jimmie Robinson is doing it in FIVE WEAPONS. Alternatively, there is the radically different way that writer Rick Remender and artist Wes Craig do it in DEADLY CLASS #1. This is a much darker ride, focusing on a tragically homeless kid who is barely surviving, but who is also drawing eyes from the wrong kinds of people and about to meet a gruesome end before members of the School of Deadly Arts intervene. The violence has a sense of realness that catches you off-guard, and the danger presented feels like real danger, which is no mean feat. But the real star is Craig’s art, which is eye-popping. Inventive layouts, clever panel design… add in Lee Loughridge’s colors, and it’s one of the more striking books you’ll see on the stands. Definitely a book to keep an eye on.