“CHEW” #20 (Comic Review)

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Originally published at Fangoria.com on Sept. 10, 2011

Inventive and absolutely weird, CHEW #20 (Image Comics) is a terrific blend of horror, sci-fi and crime. After a distress signal from outer space causes major problems on Earth, a religious cult is claiming they prophesized the fiery message in the sky. A flesh-eating detective and his cyborg partner must dig deeper into the truth, and the danger leads directly to the cannibal sleuth’s family! This is the start where everything goes horribly wrong for Tony Chu!

When the fiery writings in the sky suddenly disappear, Tony Chu, the cannibal sleuth, and his partner, John Colby, can now investigate another case: hunting for egg worshippers from The Church of The Divinity of the Immaculate Ova. These egg worshippers claim they have accurately prophesized the alien writing. Could they possibly even know more than what they’re saying?

Going on an undercover mission, Tony and John infiltrate the semi-religious compound. The leader, Alani “Sweets” Adobo, has poisoned the Kool-Aid for all her followers. It’s all a maniacal attempt to protect the sacred text Alani has written. She swears that nothing must ever leave the building. And because a sacrifice must take place, Tony and John have to fight their way through to save the worshippers.

Elsewhere, psychic Mason Savoy has been lying in a deep sleep. Given a glimpse of the near-future, Mason understands that there is a deadly alien invasion approaching Earth. He intends to be ready for this takeover. Unfortunately, Mason needs someone he can use, someone who has their own psychic sensibilities. But because he can’t approach Tony, Mason decides to go after an even better psychic:Tony’s teenage daughter.

As both author and letterer, John Layman keeps the narrative moving at a brisk pace. The good cop/bad cop act between Tony and John is always hilarious and constantly entertaining. And to keep readers intrigued, Layman also puts down possible storylines, with multiple ironic endings, at the cliff-hanging conclusion. And the art and colors by Rob Guillory bring out a highly energetic vibe to the illustrations. CHEW #20 is an entertaining and bizarre police procedural that will most definitely hook comic book readers.