Search This Blog

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chew. Taster's Choice. John Layman (Writer & Letters), Rob Guillory (Art ). Image Comics (2011)

A astonishing idea superbly executed with lashings of bitter black comedy and powerful storytelling. Tony Chu is a cibopath, he can get the history of whatever he eats, except for beets. Tony has a brutal encounter with a serial killer and uses his talent to discover the full list of his victims. This episode bring Tony into the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency in the world, with a fellow cibopath and a boos who hates him. Tony finds himself investigating a finger found in a hamburger. The case develops in deeply unexpected ways, the reveals are razor sharp and the balance of the story never falters.
John Layman has taken a fabulous idea and developed it in consistently unexpected way, the notion of the secret information of food is explored in a number of different ways and all contribute directly to the force and depth of the story. The cast are a joy, full of spiky life, they are driven and frequently ill tempered and unsympathetic. They are also deeply engaging, well developed never simply defined by their talents, they responded to their circumstance with variety. The single most extraordinary aspect to this story is the balance that John Layman has maintained, there is a manic comedy mined from the central idea, there is also a barely restrained savagery that erupts and never quite goes away.
Rob Guillory's art captures every nuance and possibility in the story and frames them with subtle, outstanding skill. The art is very distinctive, it captures the strangeness of the central idea and normalises it just enough to prevent it from ripping the drama apart. The cast are given a wonderful range of body and facial language, the emotional context is delivered with a flourish and understated grace.
This is a really daring book, taking a idea that could have easily slid down a superheroic route or vanished into absurdist comedy and instead has anchored it with a deeply engaging cast and and strong, bleak drama and burning humour. This is a comic with a tremendous, articulate and individual creative vision being wonderfully realised with artistic risks paying off all the time. Not to be missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment