Friday, February 15, 2013

[BOOK REVIEW] Chew: Taster's Choice Volume 1 by John Layman

Title:  Chew:  Taster's Choice Volume 1

Author:  John Layman

Artist: Rob Guillory

Genre: Crime / Humor

Year Published: 2010

Year Read: 2013

Series: Chew #1

Publisher: Image Comics

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 16+ (Gory Violence and Gross Humor)


Alright, now when I first saw the title of this comic “Chew,” I was thinking to myself about what was so interesting about a comic book that was all about food?  Well, I WAS WRONG!  “Chew: Taster’s Choice” which was written by John Layman along with artwork by Rob Guillory and received an Eisner Award for Best New Series and a Harvey Award Winner, was one comic that really knew how to create a plot that not only involves food but also involves a really intriguing crime drama that will shock readers at the very end!

What is this story about?

Meet Tony Chu who is a detective, but also has a bizarre secret.  You see, Tony Chu is known as a Cibopathic, meaning that he can get psychic impressions from whatever he eats, even going as far as tasting dead bodies to find out who murdered the victim and why they murdered that victim.  Because of this special ability, Tony Chu gets accepted to the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, which is known as the most powerful law enforcement division in the world and has a new partner named Mason Savoy, who also is a Cibopathic!  Now join the adventures of Tony Chu and Mason Savoy as they uncover various crimes that happens in America while using their special talents to solve the cases!

What I loved about this story:

John Layman’s writing: Wow! Just wow…I had mentioned that when I first saw the title of this book, I actually thought that it was going to be all about food.  Well, while John Layman does provide food as a major theme of this comic, the plot of the story is basically a crime drama that involves the murders of many people who are involved in the food market.  I loved the way that John Layman created a mysterious and dark atmosphere for this comic as I am a huge fan of crime stories and I loved the fact that Tony Chu uses his special gift as a way to solve crimes.  Having Tony use his special gift to solve murders really created an interesting and creative atmosphere for this story as I never would have thought that a person tasting dead bodies to find out more about the murder scenes would actually create intriguing stories about the characters trying to solve crimes.  Now, I will admit that I am not a huge fan of gross out scenes and this comic definitely has many gross out scenes, but somehow, John Layman made this experience for me truly worth it!  John Layman’s writing was so exciting and creative that I just could not put this book down no matter how disgusting it got and I was drawn into the surreal and dark world of “Chew” and the plot twists that this comic so easily provided.

Rob Guillory’s artwork:  Rob Guillory’s artwork may be a bit bizarre looking, but it fits perfectly with this type of story as the characters have odd shaped heads and have disproportioned bodies.  I also loved the way that Rob Guillory drew the blood scenes in this book as the blood usually squirts out of the characters in weird ways, making the murder scenes look a bit cartoonish yet still have the effect that it wanted to go for (PURE SHOCK VALUE)!

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The biggest issue I did have with this comic was that there were many disgusting scenes including scenes of characters vomiting all over the pages and characters biting dead bodies to get a clue on the murders.  Most of the time, I do not like disgusting scenes in any story, even though this comic made the gross out scenes seem a bit irrelevant to the story.  Also, since this comic focuses on murder scenes, there are many bloody scenes of characters getting chopped up and that might be a bit upsetting for anyone who does not like reading about bloody scenes.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Chew: Taster’s Choice Volume One” definitely exceeded my expectations as I would have never thought that I would read a comic that actually intertwines food and crime into one story and actually create an interesting story that caught my attention from the very beginning!  I will definitely be checking out the next volume of this book and see where the characters are going after this first volume!  BON APPETITE…IF YOU DARE!


  1. Once again you share a book I haven't even heard of and might not have had it not been for you. And thank you. This sounds like an intriguingly perverse read. I'll have to keep an eye out for it.