If my avatar is any indication, I'm of one of many comic book readers who have helped make "Chew" the surprise hit of the year, at least in terms of comics. Writer John Layman and artist Rob Guillory's tale of a Cibopathic (having the ability to get psychic readings from anything that one eats) cop who's recruited into the FDA (the most powerful law enforcement agency in this comic's reality) is one of the most original and funny comic books I've ever read. It doesn't always hit the mark, but its quirkiness and humor still make it an engaging and welcome read every month. At the risk of sounding like a dork, it puts the funny back in funny books.
"Chew" #6 not only starts off a new story arc, it also reintroduces a character that we thought would never return while making us realize how much we missed him. The character is John Colby. As most reader's already know, "Chew" 1 started like any cop story with the hero's (Tony Chu) current partner (Colby) being mortally wounded. (Dialogue revealed that John had survived the ordeal, but also suggested that he wouldn't last long.) However, issue #3 went against the "first partner must die" cliche by revealing that John was still very much alive, though in particularly bad shape. In issue #6, Colby, now a cyborg and a member of the FDA, is back in action and reunited with the once again partner-less Chu and I, for one, couldn't be happier.
Unlike the wonderfully eccentric (and as we now know, murderous) Mason Savoy, John Colby is a real partner. Someone who's attitude and methods differ greatly from Tony's while still having his best interests at heart. A partner who's willing to lie to their boss to get Chu out of eating something particularly disgusting, something that Savoy (a Cibopath himself and a firm believer in the greater good) would never have done.
He also loves his new job and abilities (being a cyborg has its advantages) much more than Tony. Maybe a little too much. While Chu had to be told that being an agent gave him an authority he didn't have before (Mason: "You're FDA now. You don't
wait in lines.") Colby understands this right away and relishes in this fact. Seeing him happily, not to mention recklessly, use his FDA credentials provides the issue with some of it's best laughs. John Colby is back and "Chew" is even better than before because of it.
Of course, no "Chew" review would be complete without mentioning Rob Guillory's astounding artwork. This guy is amazing. His cartoonish style compliments Layman's writing perfectly. If Guillory not only remains this good, but also gets better, he's going to be someone we'll be hearing about for a long time.
All said, the fantastic writing, art, and the welcome return of a great character make "Chew" #6 the best comic I've read this week. Oh, and as a bonus, my question was included in the letter's page. How cool is that?