Writer: John Layman
Artist: Dan Boultwood
Publisher: Image Comics
Before we dive in headfirst in this fantabulous new review of mine, I think it is important to share with you some context of why this new series was really exciting for some members of the comics community:
CHEW was a popular series created by John Layman and Rob Guillory a few years ago. An intense gore, creepy but extremely funny series about Tony Chu, a Cibopath.
What is a Cibopath you might ask?
A Cibopath is someone who gets psychic impressions of whatever he eats (and that can be...anything. From fruits to meat to…. dead human bodies!).
After the first volume was published in 2009, it was a total of 12 ridiculously funny volumes that made CHEW one of the greatest series published at Image Comics.
Fast forward to… last week! On July 22nd, Image Comics brought back from their archive the fantastically gruesome CHEWniverse!
There are always some doubts when there’s a reboot of a big story. Are they gonna ruin it? Are they gonna transform it too much? Are they gonna completely change my perception of the universe?
Fortunately, CHU #1 was a pretty good introduction to this new story. It was kind of weird to see Tony Chu in his new design. To see the overall environment changed and adapt to the new art style.
But a GREAT kind of weird. It added a fresh take to the CHEWniverse that I absolutely adored! I am impressed to see how Dan Boultwood style reminds me of Rob Guillory while still being completely fabulous and amazing on its own.
In the words of John Layman in the writer’s letter at the end of this number:
“As for Dan, after a very long search for the right artist, one who would not be a radical departure from Rob but who still has a unique style all their own, I was introduced to Dan, and it’s been magic from there on out”.
CHU #1 promised an interesting new and fresh take on this favorite Image Comics classic. They were able to respect the original design while still adding their own personal touch. When we previously followed the adventure of our favorite detective Tony Chu, we now are following the adventure of Saffron Chu… his criminal sister!
Storywise, I am happy to see they did not create a story entirely linked to the original concept. Any new reader would be able to pick CHU #1 without any prior knowledge of the characters or CHEWniverse (and no, I will never be saying universe again when thinking about this series!). It also made my heart all warm and fuzzy when I discovered they included the exact same intro as in CHEW.
However, if you are an all-time fan of CHEW, you need to keep in mind that this is a reboot. This is not a story to continue the previous 12 volumes series. It is a completely new story and, again, I could not have said better than John Layman himself:
“I have compared this book and CHEW to Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, in that they take place in the same universe and there is some overlap, but they are distinctly their own separate thing.”
In conclusion, I am really excited to see more of CHU. This first issue was an amazing start and I recommend you read it, whether you are a new reader to the...CHEWniverse, or if you were (and still are) a fan of our beloved Cibopath detective.
CHU will definitely make you feel nostalgic of the original concept… But will be able to bring the same feeling of intense disgust and authentic laughter as the first time you laid eyes on CHEW.