Written by John Layman
Illustrated by Rob Guillory
‘FLAMBE,’ Part Three
USDA Suicide mission! Boobs! Germ warfare! And a very, very special guest star! RETAILER WARNING: MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL AGES
Bold statements were being made within the offices of Multiversity when the advance copy of Chew #18 from writer John Layman and artist Rob Guillory came in. Things like “best issue of Chew yet!” were being bandied about, and I am going to put that to rest right here.
It was a ridiculously great issue, but it was not the best one yet (that belongs to either #15 or the first issue in my book). However, it was the biggest crowd pleaser yet, pulling out all of the stops to entertain readers and, at the very least, existing to remind them why Chew deserves to be in the discussion for “best book on the market.”
This issue begins with a flashback featuring Savoy and Valenzano as they discuss a recent arrival to the morgue (eagle eyed readers and fans of Guillory’s Easter eggs should start paying attention on page one with the hilarious toe tag) as well as a super weapon being prepared by a Kim Jong Il like despot – a super strain avian flu.
Back in the present, Tony and Colby are pulling in every awful mission the FDA has to offer, as their boss (and Colby’s part-time lover) is trying his best to get them killed. Threads intersect, as the sky writing leads the super weapon to come into play and Tony and Colby having to get in the mix (because this one is predicted to have a high rate of casualty amongst it’s participants that also include the busty and badass ladies from the USDA and a mysterious “if all else fails” weapon in a box).
While the whole issue is a very fun one, as the interactions between our typical pair and their rivals in the USDA are caustic and at the FDA’s expense always, the whole issue is amplified exponentially by the awesome within that box.
Suffice it to say, the last 6 pages or so are going to go down in 2011 as maybe the most entertaining pages in comics of the year. The last panel as well as the origin page of the item in the box are gut busting efforts from Layman, and they rival the funny of any other section of the series to date.
Guillory’s art is something that I started out liking but I have since grown to love about as much as any efforts in the industry. The guy is one of the best in the biz at selling visual humor (see the final panel) and making the more ridiculous schemes Layman creates not just palatable but grounded in some warped sense of reality. Not only that, but the aforementioned Easter eggs make each issue of Chew a treasure hunt – what jokes could Rob hide in the issue this month is a regular discussion point between us at MC.
While this issue isn’t something that you are likely to see much advancement of plot on (yet…never discount Layman’s ability to hide a major plot point in an issue), it is a wonderful entry in the fact that it takes the leads and puts them into a situation filled with callbacks to previous issues and entertains the living hell out of us in the process.
This issue is a perfect example as to why Chew is one of the best books in the business. If you’re not reading it, you’re really missing out on one of the most consistently great books out there.
Final Verdict: 9.5 – Buy