At least until the ending, I got a real kick out of the sci-fi weirdness that was Chew. Lots of food-based psychics, weird alien languages, and an unstoppable fighting rooster until someone stopped him. Sure, the finale felt a little flat for me, but it was fun.
It looks like writer John Layman has a new spin-off series called Chu. The first volume there is subtitled The First Course.
Tony Chu is a cop with the power to see the past of anything he eats. His sister Saffron is a criminal with the power to learn the secrets of anyone she shares a meal with provided she eats the exact same thing. Just as the “chicken flu” is starting to go around, Saffron and her no-good boyfriend Eddie are on a job when two of their comrades suddenly contract the illness. Of course, Saffron was robbing one mob boss on behalf of another. The one she was working for might have protected her, but also he just died of the disease. Eddie is safe for reasons of owing the first boss money, but Saffron can still die.
Meanwhile, her brother Tony is working the case, allowing Saffron a chance to mess with Tony’s powers to keep him from learning too much.
So, the series at least at the start is a prequel to Chew, and this one does offer some perhaps unasked-for backstory for Tony, like how he met John Colby or why most of his family seems to hate him. Did we need this information? Not really, but it didn’t feel too intrusive.
The volume ends with Saffron using her powers to perhaps become a better criminal, and it does appear that her family may not be seen much more in this series. That’s fine. It would set her story off somewhere else, and since I don’t recall seeing her anywhere before that may even give Layman a chance to further explore the world he created before things went the way they did by the time Chew itself started.
That said, the series was fine, but didn’t grab me the same way Chew did. The artwork comes this time from Dan Boultwood, and he’s fine for what the series is trying to do, even if he may or may not be trying to copy Rob Guillory’s general aesthetic, not so much line for line, but at least trying to make it look like the same world. I am not sure I’ll be going for more of this one, but I don’t really mind this one at all.
8 out of 10 aptly named criminals.