CHEW Volume 6 Space Cakes


Toni Chu is always having fun in the pages of CHEW

CHEW has officially reached its halfway point (cue the tears).  The Eisner Award-winning comic book by John Layman and Rob Guillory  is one of my life’s greatest joys, and I am making it my mission to introduce CHEW to everyone who enjoys a side of wacky with their comic books. The latest storyline, “Space Cakes,” is now available in one volume out now.

CHEW Volume 6 Space Cakes 

Presenting a new storyline of the New York Times Best Selling, Harvey and multiple Eisner Award-winner series about cops, crooks, cooks, cannibals, and clairvoyants! While Tony Chu – the cibopathic federal agent with the ability to get psychic impressions from what he eats – clings to life in a hospital ICU, his twin sister Toni steps up to take center stage. Toni is cibovoyant, able to see the future of anything she eats, and, lately, she’s seeing some pretty terrible things.

CHEW takes place in a US where chicken is outlawed, the FDA and USDA have agents that pack guns and some other talents, and a cockfighting rooster called Poyo helps fight crime at home and abroad. This collection also includes the one-off issue “Secret Agent Poyo” devoted to the fiercest fowl of all time, as well as a gallery devoted to artists’ tributes to CHEW.  See here for my review of its initial release.

For most of “Space Cakes,” Tony is in the hospital, mostly unconscious except for a fun storyline with wonderful hallucinations. Tony’s incapacitation prompts the people in his life to team up for zany adventures. They comprise Toni, his twin sister and Nasa agent; FDA Agent Cesar Valenzano, his ex-partner whom he doesn’t remember; John Colby, current USA agent and another ex-partner; and Poyo, John’s new partner. It’s easy to underestimate an eclectic group like this, and one villain even called them, “A stoned cripple, a retard, a chicken, and only two guns?” We find out how tough they are later though, tanks to Poyo’s badassery.

Each issue in volume 6 tells a wacky tale of art licking, psychedelic chogs (those adorable frog/chicken hybrids), an exploding porterhouse pantsuit, a formula for spontaneous combustion, and an almost wedding.  There is also a flashback to the contentious childhood relationship between Tony and his chef brother Chow. The stories are all connected through the “vampire” who is kidnapping, murdering, and eating people with unique abilities like Tony.  The vampire calls himself a collector, and by eating someone, he gains their special ability.  What’s his endgame? Can the USDA, FDA, and NASA continue working so well together? Will Toni get her happy ever after with her boss/boyfriend Paneer Sharma?  With so many characters, a few plot lines, and a whole mess of crazy, you’d think there would be some issues of cohesion.  There aren’t; Tony’s misadventures seamlessly flow together. “Space Cakes” ends on a cliffhanger that will have you rereading the volume, wanting more.

Now, I may upset some artists by saying, and I truly do apologize, but as a fan of art and comic books I will say that while there are great illustrations done by great artists, oftentimes good art can just kind of get overlooked as you focus on the story.  There needs to be something to grab you. The illustrations in CHEW pulled me in immediately. Rob Guillory’s style is instantly recognizable and adds to the overall character and vibe of the comic. It’s fun without being silly or over-the-top. It’s just left of reality without being too Sunday funny papers in tone. You see a cover and regardless of the character featured, you think “Hey, that’s CHEW.” Layman’s writing is nothing to pass over either. It’s witty, gross at times, and a bit outlandish (poultry ban, chicken/frog hybrids) but totally 100% original and creative. Weaving vampires, champion cock fighters, the FDA, USDA, NASA, and aliens into a humorous comic book romp with occasional surprises looks so effortless in the hands of Layman and Guillory.
And be on the lookout in 2013 for the chance to buy your own adorable little chogs by Skeleton Crew

CHEW Space Cakes Vol 6

Diamond code : OCT120481

ISBN : 9781607066217

Recommended retail price : $14.99

Release Date : 12/19/12

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