You know what would make any detective’s job a hell of a lot easier? Being able to touch piece of evidence to your skin and know everything about the person it belonged to and where it has been. Case closed, we all go home early. May even make it to retirement without getting shot and, you know, get that boat you and the wife always talked about getting someday?
Yeah that would make life pretty easy for a detective. But there is always a catch isn’t there? Can’t have nothing for free, am I right? Just ask Tony Chu. You see Tony is a special agent with the FDA ‘s Special Investigations unit, which happens to be the most powerful law enforcement agency in the world. Tony possesses the quite rare quality of being a Cibopath. What’s that, you ask? A special skill made just for detective work.
A Cibopath knows the history and experience of everything he eats. So, say Tony bites into a banana. He knows where it came from, when it was harvested, and what pesticides were used on it. Or say Agent Chu bites into a pleasantly salty piece of bacon, he knows and experiences all the unfortunate things that happened to that poor pig.
You can see where his skill would come in handy. Especially being a law enforcement agent. He just has to get over that trivial social faux pas that is commonly known as “cannibalism”. No big deal, it’s all in the name of the Law, right?
Chu begins as a beat cop in Philly where chicken has been outlawed by the US government due to a particularly deadly strain of avian flu. While on a routine stake out he discovers that a mass murdering drifter is cooking at a black market chicken restaurant. He makes the bust but only after his partner takes a cleaver to the temple and the perp takes a boning knife to his own carotid artery. Don’t worry, Chu takes a bite out of crime and finds out where the expired sous-chief-turned-Dahmer’s victims are.
Tony is then recruited by the FDA’s Special Investigations unit, mainly due to his particular ability. He is partnered with one of the two other living Cibopaths and the two go on a few misadventures together. Poor Tony always gets the lion’s share of evidence to process, if you get my meaning.
They investigate everything from chicken flavored fruit in the South Pacific to drug fueled astronomer orgies. Always trying to find out where the chicken is coming from and who is behind it all. He comes across crack USDA commandos and suicidal Russian strippers. Chu even has time for love in the form of a newspaper food critic.
Chew is a great read. The art is a lot of fun and the writers know just when to stop with the “gross things he has to eat” shtick. The book’s mysteries are a lot of fun and appropriately tongue-in-check. If you are in the mood for a great comic with a lot of fun then I highly recommend Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory.