Chew

Chew 1: Taster's Choice Tony Chu works for the FDA. That may not sound like a particularly good recipe for a comic, but writer John Layman has created an alternate reality where bird flu has become an epidemic and the government has cracked down on the sale of poultry. As an agent of the Special Crimes Division, it's Chu's job to find and put a stop to black market sales of chicken. Oh, and his brother is a famous chef who happens to think that the entire epidemic is a government conspiracy. And Chu himself is a cibopathic, which means that he can taste something and tell you it's entire history from farm to plate. Or from cradle to grave, if he happens to taste human flesh.

Layman sets the table with some pretty interesting characters and situations, but unfortunately, the stories themselves came off a bit stale. Between the crazed serial killer, the boss-who's-out-to-get-him, and the turncoat friend, a lot of the elements read disappointingly like re-heated leftovers. On art, Rob Guillory lays out a decent spread, although his manga style is not really my cup of tea.

There are enough flavors here to bring me back for another course, but I'm hoping that Laymen will serve up something richer that I can't find at every other joint.