Book Review: Chew (Volume Seven) “Bad Apples” by John Layman and Rob Guillory

TL;DR – Tony Chu and his family are in mourning. Tony’s fraternal twin, Toni Chu, murdered. Sadness quickly turns to anger and Tony Chu takes his first steps on his path of revenge.

Summary (warning: spoilers)

Go to my book reviews page to see what has happened in previous volumes of this award winning graphic novel series. Volume Seven sees Tony Chu on a mission to hunt down The Vampire, the man responsible for murdering his sister.

The chapters in this volume follows a series of missions/assignments that Tony undertakes in order to find where The Vampire is. Starting off with uncovering those responsible for releasing into the market a soda drink that burns fat rather than putting it on, only to discover it does more than burn fat cells, it causes the drinker to self-combust literally. This leads to a shoot out involving the immaculate ova cult (religious fanatics who worship chicken eggs and want to kill anyone who eats chicken) at a chicken fast food joint. And then infiltrating a camp that trains ova cult fanatics.

Piecing together clues along the way, Tony eventually arrives to an undisclosed location in Eastern Europe where he sits down to a holographic image of The Vampire for a meal. The Vampire offers Tony a chance to join his side and for them together to consume others with ‘food powers’, so they can become the most powerful cibopaths in the world.

For the avoidance of doubt, Tony makes it clear to The Vampire that he has no intention of joining him, and that he is going to hunt him down and kill him.

The final chapter sees Tony trying awkwardly to reconcile with his estranged daughter, Olive. In the process, he discovers that his deceased sister, Toni, has left him something valuable.

Review

After the epic finish in Volume Six, which showed the grisly murder of Tony’s sister, and the emotional tidal wave that I found myself drowning in, Volume Seven was always going to be challenged in terms of delivering the same highs and lows.

In truth, Volume Seven goes about setting up plot lines that I am sure will be important later on, but there is not anything in these chapters that packed as an emotional punch as what happened in Volume Six.

While Tony spends most of the time angry and stopping bad guys with a single-minded obsession that rivals the ova cult fanatics, his partner, John Colby, discovers the truth about Caesar and his links to Mason Savoy.

Savoy tries to recruit Colby only for the tables to be turned in the final pages, and Savoy is arrested by Colby.

Overall, the events are a slow (necessary) build up, which I anticipate will lead to greater things. But by itself, Volume Seven did not shake me to the core or even rattle the cage much. The crazy and weird world of Chew now seems stock standard in this volume when compared to the earlier volumes. There are no great revelations or characters that drove me to turn the next page and devour it. If anything, the two primary antagonists – Mason Savoy and The Vampire – are not revealed in any new ways and their scenes are brief.

Perhaps, Layman and Guillory needed to take a breath and ensure the reader is kept informed of the multiple underlying subplots. A solid read but will not answer any burning questions that have been asked before. For example, what the hell is the alien writing in the sky? The world is meant to be missing a big chunk of itself, where happened to it? What is the alien fruit that tastes like chicken? What is The Vampire’s end game? The ova cult seems a big part of the story, but I don’t see why I should care about them? Nothing answered, nothing gained here.

Time to take a bite out of Volume Eight.

3 out of 5.

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