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Chum #3 Review

We’re back on Kingsford Island for the finale of Sami Kivela and Ryan K Lindsay’s “surf noir” crime thriller. The first two issues have been fast paced, with great characters and an interesting story. Can Chum pull off the triple crown and deliver a satisfying conclusion? In other words, is it good?

Chum #3 (Comix Tribe)

Hell was certainly breaking loose at the end of last issue, at least for ex-lovers Standard and Summer. Summer is on the run, with minor crime boss Penny’s money, and Standard had finally started putting the pieces together. Unfortunately for Standard, for whom being a detective seemed less interesting than drinking, confronting Summer had dire consequences.

There’s always the worry that a storyline with such a great build up will fail to capitalize on what came before. Issue three doesn’t spend a lot of time beating around the bush, revisiting the past or expanding on what we already know about the characters, but the moments it does touch on these things are some of its best. We find out in a few simple panels the real conflict between Summer, Standard and even Penny, and it seems genuine and not forced. It was able to round out Summer’s character and make her, if not sympathetic, at least human in her bad decisions, rather than have her come off as an uncaring psychopath that only focused on the ends rather than the means.

Standard is equally motivated by their failed relationship, more so than a sense of police justice, and we see him act out in a similar manner, uncaring of the consequences or the law. It’s a nice bookend to their relationship that shows they were more alike than the first two issues may have revealed to us. There was never going to be a happy ending to their story, but it stayed true to their characters with the way it ultimately played out.

Once again Kivela’s art is great and realistically fits the island and noir theme. The colors are simple with lots of darkness around the edges, much like the mood of the piece. The final full page panel is a great summation of the whole story, with a collage of danger, blood and ambiguity in one simple shot.

The entire three issue arc really had a sense of where it was going and is a tribute to Lindsay’s writing. The dialogue at the beginning was a little too hammy, but as the issue moved forward, especially the final meeting between Summer and Standard, there was more showing and less telling, letting the writing end on a high note. One gripe might be that the reporter, Hannah, didn’t seem to fit anywhere. She was used as a bookend, but the story as a whole really wouldn’t lose much if she were removed entirely.

Is It Good?

I enjoyed Chum, especially the first two issues. Issue three has the same problem most finales have, of being almost all conclusion. You’re already invested in these characters (or not) by the time we get to this issue. There is less time to enjoy the scenery and buildup, because all the loose ends need to be taken care of, so this issue might seem a little thin compared to the rest. Read as a whole, this is a fine conclusion to the series, with plenty of action and heartbreak. Reading the entire series in one go might be the optimal way to enjoy Chum. I hope there’s more coming from this talented team.

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