Poyo’s dead. The Collector is still at large. Agent Chu and Colby are on the outs. Volume 10 of the hit Image series Chew sees the culmination of many of the series’ major plot lines. Is it good?
Chew Vol. 10: Blood Puddin’ (Image Comics)
I am a recent disciple of the Church of Chew. Like, really recent. A barista at the Starbucks I go to let me borrow the first volume. After reading it, I opened my laptop, clicked over to Amazon, and began throwing my credit card repeatedly at the screen. Eventually, I calmed down enough to properly purchase Volumes 2-9.
During my crash course in the wonderful world created by John Layman (writer) and Rob Guillory (artist), I’ve found that the series is at its best when it plays against expectations. Volume 6, which is by far my favorite of the series, does this perfectly. It had me laughing so loud (at 3:00 AM) that I woke up my wife. By the end of the book, however, I was trying to keep from crying. The way they wrote a major character’s death was completely devastating (in a good way).
Volume 10 comes pretty close to that brilliant emotional misdirection, but doesn’t quite stick the landing….although it’s still pretty great.
- D Bear. I have never like this character until now. He went from Orko-level annoying to badass, but in a believable and fun way.
- Poyo. Poyo is awesome. Poyo didn’t have to die (I’ll get to that in a minute). But I do appreciate that the creative team gives us a small glimpse into the after-life ass that the fiery fowl may be kicking.
- Director (heh) Applebee and Agent Valenzano…ha….haha…HAHAHAHAHAHA! Ah, that’s good stuff. I also liked that Valenzano’s reconstructive surgery is kind of awesome and Applebee’s is kind of stupid. Well done.
- Chu and Colby together again. This makes me feel better about everything, but not just for the familiarity. The dynamic between these two is one of the best parts of the series.
- It’s been clear for a while now that Olive has every right to be mad at her dad, but the girl lays down some harsh truth that really brings it home.
- “It tastes angry.”
- That fight between Chu and the Collector. Holy cow. Guillory is great at comedy, but if you want some proof of his action chops, this showdown has it in spades.
- What Chu decides to do when the fight is over is colder than its artic setting. Once again, well done.
- That last teaser page.
In general: Never has the dynamic between so many of the characters been more clear than it is by the end of Blood Puddin’. Chu and Colby will always be friends. Applebee and Chu will always hate each other. Savoy is the father Olive deserved. Olive is the becoming the woman who is clearly Chu’s daughter. The character interactions all around in this one are fantastic.
Layman also provides Guillory with a bunch of wonderful characters and visuals to draw.
What Doesn’t Work
When Poyo was killed at the end of Volume 9, I went downstairs and threw out all the chicken in my house. Then I got hungry and accidentally ate some leftover wings. But I digress…
Poyo’s death was absolutely shocking. I mean, what reason could Colby possibly have for killing this beautiful, badass bird? Surely it wasn’t so that Chu could eat Poyo and gain his powers, right? They could have just sent Poyo on assignment to kill the Collector instead. I mean, sure, it would mean that Chu and the Collector don’t face off in the battle we’ve been building towards since Volume 1, but there’s no way they’d kill of such a great character just to serve the plot in such a contrived…
*reads Volume 10*
Well, at least it gave us a cool fight. RIP Poyo.
- Speaking of fights, I would have liked it if the creative team traded some non-linear narrative for the fight scene we missed out on between Chu and the Collector’s cabal of villains. I get why they skipped it, but a part of my soul still cries out to see what type of awesomeness Guillory would made.
- Olive has every right to hate her dad. I’m not sure I was ready for her to start forgiving him this quickly.
Is It Good?
While I’m still a little miffed by the contrived reasoning behind Poyo’s death, this was yet another great volume in a series I wish I had given a chance to a long time ago. Maybe next time I hear everyone and their mom saying how great a book is, I should listen.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go throw up the wings I ate yesterday because I feel guilty again. #Poyo4Ever