Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Comics February: Chew and Saga

Comics February. What a stroke of flingin' flangin' genius: the brain child of Debi. When the month began, I really didn't know if I'd partake because I wasn't sure if I'd get any reading done at all this month. But when a couple of much-anticipated graphic novels came up for sale on Amazon, things started to look much more promising.

Last week I dove into the graphic novel I was most interested in trying, Chew, volume 1: Taster's Choice by John Layman and Rob Guillory. Wow, what a gross book this is! But, it's to be expected. Tony Chu, the main character, is a cibopath. That is, he can see the "history" of anything he tastes. A steak (mooo!), rotten sushi, a decomposing finger. Everything except beets, actually. Beets have no effect. Tony is soon recruited by the FDA, a veritable vice squad in this version of US where there's a chicken prohibition on (as a result of the avian flu), and the black market is booming with murder and corruption.

I loved the premise of this book. It's so odd and so cleverly wonky. The illustrations are fantastic with their oversized, overzealous shapes, noirish colors, and feeling of unreality. It really takes the edge off all of the disgusting. I'm not kidding when I say Chu eats a decomposing finger. There are a lot of bodily fluids in this graphic novel, and while I'm generally anti-gross, the illustrations help make this one doable.

The only thing I didn't like: the story seemed a little simple. The big twist at the end was no surprise. Given, since this is the first book in a series, it has a lot of work to do to lay the foundation for the future installments, so I'll definitely be trying more. I rated this one 3/5 stars on Goodreads. 

I'm sure I don't have to introduce the first volume of Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan, one of the writers of Lost. Fiona Staples is the artist on this one, and you'll see her name pop up again. Everyone seems to be talking about this series, and now I know why!

Alana and Marko are from opposite sides in a war between a planet and one of its moons. In the beginning of the book, Alana gives birth to their daughter, Hazel, who narrates the story from the future. We're allowed small peeks into the couple's backstory as Alana and Marko attempt to escape with their daughter into outer space.  There are bounty hunters on their tails, a mysterious ghost girl, and a full-on sex planet!

The content in this one is probably not for the faint of heart. Lots of nudity and envelope pushing, but Marko and Alana are an interesting pair. She's a badass and he's desperately trying to be a pacifist, though that's difficult when there are people trying to kill you.

This one ends on a fun cliffhanger, it's a satisfyingly complex story, and I'm compelled to go ahead and buy the second book. I am definitely interested in where this little family is headed. I rated this one 4/5 stars on Goodreads. 

Have you participated in Comics February? I'd love more recommendations! Besides these books, I'd also like to get to Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire, and Mystery Society by Steve Niles and Fiona Staples (who did the art for Saga!) soon.


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