Chew Vol 1: Taster's Choice is an interesting read from Image Comics. It follows Tony Chu. He is a police detective with a weird ability. He can see the history of things he eats. This includes animals and how they were slaughtered. For this reason he sticks mostly to eating vegetables, beets specifically.
This story takes place in a time when chicken is banned because of the avian flu. Chicken has become something only obtained from the underground and it is hilghly illegal. The Food and Drug Administration in America monitors the sale of chicken very closely. Which plays an intricate part to this whole story.
The story itself picks up with Chu and his partner in an illegal chicken restaurant. They are there to take down the head of the illegal chicken operation. They go undercover and order some food. Tony orders a chicken broth and it turns it one of the cooks cut him finger in the broth. Tony learns that the cook has been abducting, murdering and eating women. What happens next changes everything for Tony.
Tony and his partner pursue the cook. When they go after the cook, Tony's partner gets hit in the throat with a knife. Tony eventually catches the cook and the cook slices his own throat. Tony decided a to take eat some of the cook to discover who the rest of his victims are. This leads to Tony being fired by his local police office.
Tony is actually offered a job from the FDA because of his unique ability. He is called a cibopath. Which means he gets psychic images from his food. He ends up with a very hard nosed boss and must solve a issuing person/ murder. As he begins to investigate Tony learns that he was intimidated by a restaurant for giving them a bad inspection and then that he was murdered. The murder is the big plot twist.
As Tony is investigating the murder they are lead all over the place. He sees the victim lose a finger to the restaurant owners and then he sees his murder. This came after both his new partner, Mason Savoy, and one of the restaurant's hired thugs are shot. In what was a great twist it turns out Savoy murdered the inspector because he thought he knew more about the bird flu and wanted to know what he knew.
Mason Savoy turned out to be a very interesting character. He lost a loved one to what the government claimed was the avian flu. The same reason it was banned. The thing with Savoy is that he does not believe the avian flu caused all the deaths on the planet. This leads him to join the government to take it down from the inside.
Savoy and Tony come to blows when Tony discovers the truth. Savoy actually bites off Tony's ear and threatens to use it to find Tony's loved ones should be pursue him. It is a very well done scene because it creates a lot of intrigue for future volumes.
Before we got to the end of the main story, there were a couple of subplots I wanted to highlight. First, Savoy and Tony go to an international telescope in the artic because their investigation intially leads them there. They end up in a shoot out with Russian astronomers who believe they are there to further the government agenda. This leads to a shoot out between them and one of the Russians runnnng off into the snow. Savoy mentions that she will most likely end up dead out there.
This telescope was set up to "monitor" a planet that had life on it. There are a quick few panels that shoe the telescope actually being used to wipe out the life on that planet. This is something that could come up later.
Also, there is a reporter who has the ability to describe food in such detail readers can taste what she describes. Tony is told to investigate her and get her fired because she been describing the most disgusting food to intentionally make people vomit. Tony ends up falling in love with her, but she leaves after a her newspaper is held hostage by a radical group thy does not believe in the avian flu.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. It is a unique story I have not read before. The plot twist was also great. It added a level of intrigue that would not be there without it.
I look forward to reading Chew Vol 2, but before I get to reading that. Let me announce our book of the month for March 2016! It is from Marvel Comics. The Winter Soldier: The Bitter March.