Review: CHEW / REVIVAL #1

Written by John Layman, Tim Seeley
Art by Rob Guillory, Mike Norton
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: May 28, 2014

ChewRevivalOneShot_CoverChewThis book is a one-shot which lays out the foundation of two ongoing Image series, that have never before hinted at a potential shared universe.

For readers who have felt overwhelmed at the thought of diving into series pushing over 40 issues (Chew) and 20 issues (Revival), this book attempts to tackle those fears and provide a smooth transition into these unusual supernatural worlds, without massive back reading. But, just did they do?

There is a flip book layout which has each author and artist show off the strengths of each series. There are separate investigations and story lines the coincide with a single visit by Tony Chew to Wisconsin. Chew is humorous, irreverent and also exists in a world where the Food and Drug Administration is the ultimate authority and chicken is outlawed due to a bird flu epidemic years before. There is a good balance and attempt to explain that the quarantine in the county where Revival takes place has shield them from this unusual universe and laws. On the opposite side, the Revival story does a good job of integrating the Chew universe by the exclusion of Tony’s half robot partner, whom we see in the Chew Side more morbidly occupied.

Rob Guillory’s continues to be whimsical and over the top focusing Tony, his psychic detective who must eat things to get reading (even the dead.) There is an emphasis on exaggerating body parts and physical features to create a distinct cartoon feel. This becomes really amusing when Tony and his partner encounter a “Reviver” (one of the people coming back from the dead.) In a 180 degree change, Mike Norton’s style continues the serious and ominous feeling found in Revival. The horror of a “Reviver” willing to use her own body to reanimate her friends is bloody and beautiful. There are shared characters and setting, and the two separate stories do feel like they can meld together with the theme of loss and love of family, specifically sisters, flowing through both stories.

New readers will detect stories hinted t that do require more background to fully understand. However, they’re not mandated reading to jump on.

To be frank, this issue would have been a perfect Free Comic Book Day offering. That is probably the biggest disappointment. There is nothing here that provides shocking reveals or makes it “must-read” feelings for longtime fans. The joy from Layman/Guillory’s story and the well crafted themes presented by Seeley and Norton are a classic experience of reading comics that are fun.

Anyway you slice it, Chew/Revival is a well balanced introduction for new readers and delightful distraction for current fans.

The Verdict: 9.0/10


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