Review by Karl Verhoven
The way in which Rob Guillory has depicted FDA section chief Mike Applebee has been superb, drawn with the perma-scowl of a man with a bee is trapped in his underpants, and further characterised by two giant sweat patches under his arms extending over his shirt. Writer John Layman uses him much in the manner of J. Jonah Jameson in the earliest issues of Spider-Man, and, as was the case there, Applebee is somehow even scarier when he’s happy. That’s how we open Major League Chew. In fact he’s not just happy, he’s approaching ecstasy as this is the day he’s able to fire Tony Chu.
It might have been assumed that Chu’s heroics in Flambé counted for something, but no, he’s destined for municipal traffic control where his new boss is glad to see him. Very glad. Almost ecstatic. “We are so, so, so honored to have you here Special Agent Chu”. While bearing more than a passing visual similarity to Appleby, Marshall Mello is his polar opposite in terms of personality, and equally excrutiatingly delivered by Guillory’s cartooning. For this new position he’s designed a fantastically unsightly ensemble for Chu including a kilt and a strap-on helmet with flashing light accessory.
Embarrassing as it may be, this is not Chu’s greatest problem, as his daughter’s been abducted. In the first volume we were introduced to Mason Savoy, bon-vivant, one of the world’s few other cibopaths, and now child abductor. Savoy believes the bird flu outbreak that killed so many Americans was no accident, and having failed to enlist Chu to his cause has gone for the next best choice.
So why the baseball motif on the cover? That’s because Chu has a rival in love, the sports writer on the paper where Chu’s girlfriend works. He has an idea for a book about old baseball players, and Chu spends most of the book helping him. Unwillingly.
There are so many laugh out loud moments in Major League Chew, coupled with some truly disgusting concepts, each illustrated with perfect comedic relish by Guillory. Layman also introduces three new food based specialists each with their own finely crafted descriptive noun, one who creates weapons from chocolate, another who can command people via an unusual medium, and the third who’s the most powerful of them all.
Chew has been a high quality product from the start, and this is the best since that opening volume. Next is Space Cakes, with which this is combined in the third hardcover Omnivore Edition.