Graphic Novel Review: ‘Chew’ vol. 8 by John Layman & Rob Guillory

Chew Volume 8: Family RecipesChew Volume 8: Family Recipes by John Layman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Remember when I was bummed about all the stuff that didn’t happen in volume 7, given the end of volume 6, which came as the ultimate shock after all the zany preceding bits (psychedelic chogs)?

Volume 8 picks up that slack. Not only do we see the first hints of a climax on the horizon (including not only the ‘vampire’ but also the conspiracy introduced at the very end of volume 1), we also see Tony’s badly tended relationships developing for about the second time ever in a positive direction.

Also, right there on the cover: guess who’s going to be visiting our favorite grumpy detective?!

As I mentioned in my review of vol. 6, Antonelle’s NASA-fuelled insanity was the perfect foil to Tony’s obsession with the rules and being all singleminded anger management basket case what have you. So it’s good to see her again, especially with a certain side dish in the mix.

This time, of course, things are more complicated—I’d consider the middle chapters here the first appearance of serious, show-stopping feels—but, you know what, they fit well and it’s hard to sustain something with an underlying serious narrative on comedy alone. The tension has been coming to a head for a while, and it’s nice to finally see it go somewhere.

So yeah, in my opinion the main strength of this volume is actually the personal side of things, even as events start clicking into place and humor is had. It’s a well-constructed volume in a series that has, by and large, been well-constructed but not bothered to display as full a range or depth as appears here.

From an art standpoint, the inks/colors look good. I noticed more dynamism in the movements than before, but I don’t know if it’s just a matter of who they chose to show in action poses, or the fact that the action alternated more so it was more obvious when it happened.

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