Chew, vol. 4

Chew, vol. 4, by John Layman and Rob Guillory 7.25

Well, Chew is finally starting to wear out its welcome.

Based on the first two paperbacks, I would not have expected the series to spin its wheels as much as it is currently. I suspect that Layman is writing with a longer game in mind, and many things will tie in eventually, but, as it stands, all the pieces seem disparate and somewhat unrelated.

In fact, the series has become so episodic that it’s almost pointless keeping track of anything – even if you miss an issue you won’t lose your way. While that is a strength in gathering new readers, it’s a tremendous weakness with respect to keeping established ones: there is, after all, only so much messing around one can do before losing one’s focus or purpose entirely.

Perhaps they are publishing faster than they  should. Perhaps they should take the time to flesh out the book some more before going to press. I mean, even Guillory seemed to take shortcuts from time to time, like doing larger panels then necessary (although in his defence, he doesn’t skimp on detail or copy panels like some artists do), which suggests possible time constraints.

Don’t get me wrong: ‘Chew’ is still a fun book, and it’s a much more memorable read than most offerings, and I even think that I preferred it to the last one. But the reason I’m rating it lower than the last is due to the fact that I hate it when a story loses its way. It’s like when ‘Twin Peaks’ stopped focusing on the mystery of Laura Palmer’s murder in order to stretch the series – you feel cheated somehow.

I just hope that Layman and Guillory will get the story back on track and stop dallying about with side business that doesn’t move anything forward. If they do both in an issue, fine. But developing the story arc is of prime importance. And, right now, it doesn’t appear that ‘Chew’ is doing much more than nibbling here and there, snacking between meals. I hope that the next volume will be a more substantial serving.

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