Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Layman & Guillory
Part Two of the “Flambé” arc delivers an excellent read because of the unexpected focus. Layman dives immediately into exploring the character, Olive, Tony Chu’s daughter. This allows a couple of things that make for a fun read, one of which is how much she looks up to Tony’s partner, Colby. Overall the issue just adds to the bizarre tapestry that Chew has been building since the beginning. You don’t get answers but you get a lot more oddities that make you want to read more. Great writing and amazing art tend to do that to you in comic books.
The story opens with some folks up in a space station witness to the strange letters in the sky from a unique vantage point. While studying them over a period of time a disaster hits leaving them cut off from NASA. It’s a safe assumption that they are dead. Generally with this title that means some of them survived and are changing into something only the warped minds of Layman and Guillory can think of.
Next up there is a food fight unlike any I’ve ever seen among some high school kids. What starts out as some pizza and drinks being flung around the room turns into meat cleavers to the head within just four panels on one page. This single page is artistic brilliance by Guillory and it represents everything I love about this title. It’s unexpected and superbly executed.
Tony and Colby enter the scene. Now that the FDA is getting squeezed on the budget end these two are out to prove something. It’s at this point we learn that Tony’s daughter, Olive, attends the school. The rest of the comic book contains some hostage negotiations that don’t turn out quite the way Tony and Colby want them to and it ends with yet another bizarre twist on the space station prologue.
As noted, there’s a lot to like about this book. The character interactions shine above almost everything else in this series. The sour relationship between Tony and Olive, the way Olive and Colby seem to gang up on Tony, even the way Colby interacts with the hostage taker and the school principal are all outstanding dynamics and show some amazing skill with the writing of the characters. Obviously, another aspect of the book that is very good is the creativity with the situations that arise. The book is simply full of surprises.
Guillory became a dad recently and that’s why this issue was late. If he rushed it certainly didn’t show in the finished product. Guillory has complete command of the characters and the story. The page that escalated the food fight even takes the tone from a dull yellow to a deep red by the end. Mix in that almost every page has something funny written on the wall or on a piece of paper and Guillory seems to miss no details anywhere. His style may not be everyone’s taste but you’d be hard pressed to find someone pouring more of their craft onto each and every page.
The bar on this series is ridiculously high and, thus, I grade this book on a different scale from the normal books that come my way. It’s an excellent issue and in many ways it reads like a one-shot so if you are new to the world of Chew you may want to pick this up and give it a try. You get a very entertaining read here that is literally different from everything else out there. I definitely recommend this book.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles