In a tight economy, it's not always clear where you should spend your hard-earned money. With comic books getting more and more expensive, your dollar doesn’t go as far at the comic shop as it once did. We here at Complex feel your pain, so we're providing you with a rundown of the best comics coming out on January 23, 2013.
Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)
What it’s about: He may be unremarkable on the outside, but Tony Chu does have one quality that makes him stand out from the other agents at the F.D.A.: He’s a cibopath. Meaning, Chu can get a psychic impression from anything that he eats. For instance, if he enjoys a nice steak, he can see in his head who slaughtered the cow and when. This makes Chu indispensable as a detective, even if he has to solve most of the murders he encounters by doing a little corpse-munching.
What to expect this month: Chew #30 left us with the shocking death of Toni Chu, at the hands of the mysterious Vampire. Now it’s up to her brother, Tony, to get revenge while also carrying out his duties as a reinstated agent of the FDA. That issue marked the official halfway point of the series, and writer John Layman has already made a palpable shift in direction. This installment seems much more focused on the overall plot of the series, as opposed to the non-sequiturs and gross-out humor of previous ones.
That’s not to say that this issue isn’t filled with humor. There's still plenty (like the energy drink that causes the obese to spontaneously burst into flames), but there's also a sharper narrative focus. Layman even calls back to a previous plot involving a cult of deranged egg worshippers that will presumably be the driving force for the next few issues. The beginning stages of a mystery are coming together, one that ties the cult to the energy drink and, here, leaves off on a satisfying cliffhanger for longtime Chew readers.
As for the illustrations, artist Rob Guillory ties Layman’s plot together nicely, bringing a balance of traditional comic book storytelling and over-the-top sight gags to the issue. This is probably one of Guillory's tamer Chew issues so far. Still, he shows his versatility as an artist by being able to handle the dramatic scenes along with his trademark humor without missing a beat.
With 29 issues remaining, expect Chew to become more plot-focused as it marches towards its finale. If this issue is any indication, though, Layman and Guillory will still be packing in enough of the series’ signature flavor to keep hardcore fans more than happy.
The Massive #8
What it’s about: In a post-war, post-crash, post-everything world, a team of environmentalists must somehow find a way to help an Earth that seemingly doesn’t want to be saved. As the crew of The Kapital attempts to get to the bottom of "The Crash" (a natural disaster that wreaked havoc of the Earth), they must also locate the whereabouts of their sister ship, The Massive, which went missing during the chaos.
What to expect this month: The utopia that The Kapital's crew members thought they'd settled upon last issue turns out to be a nightmare. Here, the director of the Moksha station begins to reveal just what kind of operation he's running on this oil rig. Writer Brian Wood is careful not to spell things out immediately, and there's still plenty of mystery by issue’s end, but it’s clear that Director Sumoni is little more than a power-hungry dictator who is hell-bent on breaking Callum Israel and his crew.
Up until now, The Massive has mostly been a series of one-shot issues that tied loosely into a larger tapestry, but this is the first time that Wood is giving us linear storytelling with a genuine villain. And the results, so far, have been encouraging. The vibe at Moksha station can be likened to what Robert Kirkman did with the Woodbury settlement and the Governor in The Walking Dead. There's much more under the surface here, and we’re slowly seeing Sumoni turn from benevolent host to psychotic fascist before our eyes. Furthermore, what adds to the drama is how the crew is split up from each other as Wood shows us how each faction deals with the floating prison they are now on.
As usual, artist Garry Brown adds some impeccably detailed art to this issue that increases the story's mood and believability. Because he's an expert at crafting backgrounds and settings (like the Moksha oil rig and hull of The Kapital), Brown's flourishes help to give weight and credence to the plot. Everything feels authentic, and there are moments when you can practically touch, taste, and smell every nook and cranny of the rig. Couple that with his ability to tell a story through facial expressions and you have a book where the writer and artist are working in perfect harmony. It's a complete reading experience.
Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)