First Impressions: Chew by John Layman

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Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he’s a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn’t mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He’s been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases. (Source: Goodreads)


 The premise of John Layman’s Chew reminded me so much of iZombie, a series where zombie medical examiner, Olivia Moore, eats the brains of homicide victims and uses the resulting visions into the past as clues to solving the murders, that I had to give it a try.

The series takes place in a time where it seems that chicken is outlawed because of bird flu. The protagonist, Tony Chu, is a vice detective with a secret: he’s cibopathic. In other words, he gets visions of the past of whatever he eats. From visions of farmers chemically treating vegetables to animal slaughterhouses, he sees it all. Except for beets. Beets don’t give him visions. And sometimes, he uses his cibopathy to solve crimes and it involves exactly what you think.

This first chapter was interesting, but not anything that made me want to continue reading right away. One thing that I did love was the art style. It was very dark and quirky, almost like I would expect a graphic novel to look if Tim Burton were drawing it.

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One of my favorite pages from chapter one.

Unfortunately, I just didn’t connect with any of the characters, nor did I connect with the setting in this chapter and that definitely hurt it in the long run.

Chew was an interesting read but for something reason it didn’t grab me like I prefer my graphic novels to. However, my curiosity outweighs my level of disconnection and I will probably give this series another chance sometime in the future. Right now, I just have too many things on my plate and not enough time to invest into something I’m not that interested in.

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