Book Review: Chew (Volume Eleven) “The Last Suppers” by John Layman and Rob Guillory

TL;DR – Tony Chu faces off against Mason Savoy.

Summary (warning: spoilers)

Go to my book reviews page to see what has happened in previous volumes of this award winning graphic novel series.

The Pope has declared, “Chicken is DOOM!”

The proclamation occurs during Easter to millions of people televised worldwide. Applebee assigns Tony and John to investigate why the Pope has now become an egg worshipper and converted follower of the “Divinity of the Immaculate Ova” church. The Pope has gone on to say that eating chicken is a sin and that anyone eating chicken must die.

The pair are led back to the Pacific Island of Yamapalu where the alien fruit that tastes like chicken, Gallsaberry, grows. There they encounter Mason Savoy who convinces Tony to have a sit down, which turns out to be more precarious than either of them thought as they psychically “time-travel” back to the dinosaur ages (with the help of a food-powered individual) where they discover a species of animal that is half-human, half-chicken. Or at least, they have chicken heads with a humanoid body. Savoy reveals that this species would have become the dominant life form on Earth had they not been wiped out by an errant meteor that wiped out the Mesozoic era.

Meanwhile, Tony’s wife, Amelia has been continuing writing her novel using her food-power that allows her to write about the origins of the food that she eats (her writing so believable that anyone who reads it can taste the food also). She has been taking bites out of her own Gallsaberry and receiving images of an alien detective fighter against a mad tentacled alien eater.

Add to this that NASA have discovered another planet with alien fire writing encircling its skies and things are coming to a head.

Review

How much is a life worth? Would you kill one life to save the lives of billions of others?

For Anthony “Tony” Chu, the answer is every life is equally precious. For Mason Savoy, the answer is the lives of billions outweighs the life of one.

This philosophical conundrum is at the crux of the conflict between Tony and Mason. As two of the three known remaining cibopaths on Earth (the third being Tony’s daughter, Olive), their power to obtain the origins and events of things that they eat combined with their ability to absorb others’ food-related powers (should they decide to cannibalise them) makes them pivotal in unraveling a series of mysteries including:

  • The so-called avian flu pandemic that wiped out millions of people (including Mason’s wife).
  • Subsequent conspiracies around the government’s prohibition on chicken
  • The sudden appearance of alien fire writing encircling the Earth
  • The rise of “The Divinity of the Immaculate Ova” cult that believe that chickens should not be consumed and all chicken eaters should be killed
  • The rise of individuals who have a vast array of food-related powers, some using it to further their own ends, some seeking to serve the greater good.

For Tony and Mason, they initially started out on the same page, but they quickly diverged as Mason was willing to torture anyone who might have information to uncover the truth surrounding the mysteries listed above and would go so far as killing anyone standing in his way.

Of course, Tony stood in his way and thus an indelible chasm has separated the pair. In this volume, Mason makes one final attempt to extend an olive branch. He knows that together, they can get to the truth.

Their last supper involving psychic time travel and the revelation that a specifies of humanoid chicken once existed leads much to be speculated. But not even this can sway Tony to Mason’s side, much to Savoy’s fury.

This gives the impression that Savoy has determined that Tony must now be removed from the equation, which leads to the events in the epilogue of Volume 10, where inexplicably we see Tony holding what appears to be a murdered Amelia in his arms.

What is revealed, however, is that Amelia is actually attacked by E.G.G. terrorists and it is Mason who comes to save her. Further, Amelia, while seriously injured, is not dead. She reveals to Tony that after Mason made quick work of the terrorists, he stole the final chapters of her book and the Gallsaberry fruit that she was eating.

This leads to some brilliant writing by Layman and art by Guillory. Spattered throughout each chapter of this volume, we see Mason doing a monologue. At first, it gave me the impression that Savoy had broken the “fourth wall” and was talking to the me (the reader) directly.

His monologue revolving around why he will do anything to uncover the truth even if the path he goes down causes him to become a monster. However, I realised that he is actually talking to Tony.

I then thought that perhaps this monologue was somehow set in the future, and Mason had successfully captured Tony and is trying to explain his actions before the inevitable “now-I-have-to-kill-you moment” (thanks for listening!)

But I now believe this monologue is a message left for Tony as one of Mason’s memories. Similar to when Tony’s twin sister, Toni, was murdered by The Vampire. She took specific steps to be able to communicate to Tony even after her death.

And in a twist that I did not see coming, we discover on the final page that Mason has hung himself and left one final note for Tony which simply says, “Eat me.”

Absolutely brilliant stuff.

In this penultimate volume, Chew has surpassed my expectations and kept me guessing. I don’t want the ride to be over, and I have a feeling that the final Volume 12 will be bittersweet.

5 out of 5.

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