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Comic review: Chew No. 13

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The Deal: Image releases that latest issue of its foodie-centric detective comic, Chew. Put together by the usual creative team of John Layman and Rob Guillory — and starring comicdom's only "cibopath" (someone who can get psychic impressions from objects by eating them) — this month's edition attempts to answer a few dangling plot threads and moves the current story arc closer to a (potentially violent) conclusion.

The Good: I've been riding this comic's jock before its first issue was even released. Now, 13 issues in, it's still one of the most satisfying reads on the stand. The book works primarily because the story weaves so perfectly between humor, horror and real human emotions. Yeah, Chew features slapstick — and it's amazingly gross sometimes — but somehow we're made to care for the characters as if this was a straight-ahead drama. Guillory's cartoony art actually adds to Chew's humanity; by drawing the comic in such an unrealistic manner, the artist is able to play up facial expressions and therefore clearly communicate feelings. Oh, and one last thing: I love the letter column in the back of the book. The "backmatter" — complete with reader comments, messages from the creators, fan-made art and user-submitted cat photos — extends the Chew experience and offers a great post-game atmosphere for interested readers.

The Bad: I honestly have nothing bad to say about this title. If anything, I wish there were plans to extend it beyond its reported 60-issue run. I guess I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

The Verdict: After more than a year, Chew is still going strong. If you haven't read it yet, pick up the hardcover collection of the first 10 issues and then get caught up with the newer stuff. This is a true must-read.

Quick Hits

Secret Avengers No. 4: A message to the folks at Marvel: I read Secret Avengers to see my favorite hero, the Beast (formerly of the X-Men), do stuff. If you're just going to have the guy stand around and do nothing, you could have left him with his mutant buddies. So, please have the Beast do something. Thanks.

Avengers Academy No. 3: While we're on the subject of the Avengers, Avengers Academy is really shaping up into a great comic. Action, tons of character development and amazing art — this book scores on almost every level.

Reviewed materials provided by Heroes Aren't Hard to Find: www.heroesonline.com.

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