Justin's Reviews > Chew, Vol. 3: Just Desserts

Chew, Vol. 3 by John Layman
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Aug 07, 2011

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The Eisner Award-winning and Harvey Comics Award-winning series continues with JUST DESSERTS, but readers might find this chapter in the ongoing adventures of a cibopathic homicide detective a little less appetizing than the series initially proved.

USA Today calls the series "incredibly fun," and they've got that right. Unfortunately, what started out as a one-trick pony that, by the end of Volume 1 of the series, suggested that there might be something more unique to the ongoing plot than the "hook" (which won't be repeated here ... if readers are unfamiliar with the premise of CHEW, than this review will fall upon deaf ears), seems to have slowed down, even stagnated, back to the singular trick.

The artwork remains creatively fun, allowing the series to avoid falling into a morbid, dark tone. (The subject matter itself is darkly humorous enough without artwork that would transform the series into something sinister or morose.) But JUST DESSERTS, like Volume 2, doesn't truly propel the plot of the overall series forward; rather, this collection of stories serves only to provide a little more character development (and ultimately unnecessary development at that) to the main cast, while also introducing a pretty large handful of ancillary characters that aren't quite fleshed out enough here to recommend this volume as essential to the CHEW mythology.

The volume moves at such a walking pace, in fact, that the cliffhanger that concludes the collection appears to come completely out of nowhere. Is it an interesting development in the life of Tony Chu? Sure. You didn't see that coming. Could this revelation take the series into decidedly exciting, new territory? Perhaps, but only as it relates to Chu's private life. The mystery of Chu's abilities and what it all means to the series ongoing plot should be the focus of the series, and the detours that this volume entertains take the reader a bit too far from the interstate of what could be a very clever series.

For now, the latest ingredients of CHEW will more than likely remind readers of what was so attractive about the series when it first debuted. Beyond that, it feels a bit too much like writer Layman is putting too many side dishes on the menu that simply distract the discerning diner from what brought them to CHEW in the first place.
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