“Chew #31”

(w) John Layman
(a) Rob Guillory

Last issue featured the death of a major character in Chew. And no, I’m not going to spoil it for you in the first paragraph of the review for “Chew #31.” Instead, let’s discuss how this issue brings not one, but two funerals. No, there is no new shocking death in these panels. Through the use of flashbacks, we are taken to the time when Tony Chew buried his wife.

Warning: Spoilers!

In the last issue of Chew, Tony’s sister met an untimely, but foreseen, ugly demise. We now pick up the pieces where Tony is recovered from his beating many issues ago, and the book dives into the next story arc prepared to kick things into high gear and begin the road to wrap up this book. The funeral gives you the sense that we’ve passed the halfway point and that things are going to start to get real. Granted, being real was something this book wasn’t lacking before. This is a turning point for Tony, and he gains direction and a clear goal of what to do next.

The thing I like about Chew is each issue brings a sense of fun, humor, and really makes looking at the details in the art an experience. There is one panel in particular where this sense of humor is displayed. You get twice the thrill from it if you like seeing comic creators including themselves in their own book. I still remember the feeling I got when I saw Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson include themselves in Transmetropolitan, and this panel brought back those same feelings—seeing John Layman and Rob Guillory’s appearance, chalk full of humor and snarks as we see them at a comic book convention. The humor is in all the signs and background art details.

The other great staple of a Chew comic is seeing the one page devoted to telling the history of an object or person that catches the reader up rather quickly in order to show how it fits into the story. In this issue’s case, Thinergy Super Soda gets featured. It’s introduction in this issue leads us to the end of the first part of this story arc, revealing a bigger connection to a previous Chew story. The turn in the story comes out almost out of nowhere, but when that connection is made, and timed with Tony’s new found purpose, it really makes you feel like there is a plan and a complete story to tell with Chew. Issue #60 is the last issue for the series, and if this issue is any indication of the direction readers will be traveling from here on out, I’m looking forward to it.