Written by Guest Contributor: Jordan North Chew #36 marks the return of one Antonelle Chu and the beginning of a new chapter with the Family Recipes storyline. Jumping back in time this issue of Chew focuses on the formerly M.I.A sister of our beloved Tony Chu, Toni Chu and her antics which presumably happened while Tony was unconscious in the hospital putting a tidy X in the 'not dead' box that we feared would never make it there.
Issue #36 provides a delicious little bit of mix-upedness with focusing on Toni and her little sister Sage this issue. In fact, Tony never shows up at all (thought he is made fun of by his siblings in passing which made me chuckle). Toni provides the perfect foil to Tony in every way, particularly as of late as Tony gets more and more pent up and edgy throughout his chase with The Vampire. She’s pure bubble and girlish charm, and her boundless optimism seems matched only by her ability to get shit done. A scene in which Sage gets herself in trouble with a mob boss and Toni comes to the rescue is outstanding. She talks to him as though he’s an ill-tempered child and just as you think her naiveté will be her outdoing BAM! She calls in the Calvary, which in this case happens to be her fiancé Paneer in a space suit. “I work for NASA” she boasts. “We have jetpacks! And Frickin laser guns!” she announces hilariously as her brutal plan unfolds. It’s funny as hell and plain good popcorn writing.
Of course the expected Chew humor is there pervading everything. From a menu announcing meatballs! Spaghetti... and other Italian crap. To a balloon in a comatose Tony’s room that we can see just enough of to make out, “sucks to be you”. It would be a travesty is readers didn’t study the backgrounds in this book just as much as they did the main points showcased upfront. It’s half of what makes this thing great. And it is great. At this point Chew is super-confident in its stride and rarely misses a beat.
It wouldn’t be a discussion about Chew without talking about the art, which once again (and always) pans out like a dream. From the characters to the environments, to their faces and the perfect angles he chooses, Guillory is wonderful. Not to mention the bold and beautiful color work. At this point I imagine the writer and artist are one entity working in tandem to roll out this superior product. One thing is for sure, if this was Pacific Rim, John Layman and Rob Guillory would pilot one hell of a Jaeger.
This issue is outstanding in that it breaks the mold, which is saying something for a book that does and says such ridiculous things every issue I could design at least a couple T-shirts, for each book turned out. That said I’m excited about the possibilities of the creators showcasing some of Tony’s family as stars in the next few stories of this arc. Don’t miss out on what may very well be the most fun comic book on the shelf.
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Rob Guillory
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: 9/4/13