“Major League Chew,” Chew‘s last arc, had some bad pacing issues. While the arc was a lot of fun, and was full of some great ideas by John Layman, the arc didn’t know what it wanted to focus on. And while the supporting cast of Chew needed some face time, it could have balanced better. But “Space Cakes” turns this all around, with a great start to the arc, and the overall quality that Chew has become known for these past few years.
Layman gives Toni Chew, Tony’s twin sister, the spotlight this month, and we find out a lot about her. Her very upbeat demeanor is explained, and it works like a charm. The best part, Layman gives her the majority of the funny lines, which makes her sometimes dry humor that much more funny. ”I’m here to lick your painting,” had my rolling in stitches from laughing so hard. ”Space Cakes” seem to be the back to basics story telling that Chew had in the beginning. A Toni is investigating something while the character work flows naturally around the police work. It’s what made most readers fall in love with Chew in the first place. The cast in Chew is getting larger by the arc, with most of the characters being deep enough to warrant a side mini-series so they could be fleshed out more. So when it seems that Tony might be gone for this arc, that does make me a little happy. Although I do miss him, it’s hard to not love the direction that Layman is going with right now.
One thing that has irked me in the series is the shear number of food powers that are popping up. A couple were fine, but they are starting to become un-special. Almost every major player in this book has a special food based power. While not a big gripe, considering it doesn’t break the story, it’s something to consider. Layman has said the book is going to last 60 issues, so with over half the run left, more powers might emerge.
#26 has the distinction of fitting in with last year’s famous #27. Yeah, you read that last sentence correctly. Having reread #27, #26 answers all the questions, and with none of them feeling forced. While Layman clearly had a plan for all of this, it wouldn’t be surprising if he had to rush to make everything fit the story he already released. But the first part of “Space Cakes” flows perfectly into the second part.
Much like the story, Rob Guillory’s pencils suffered during “Major League Chew.” His exaggerated, cartoonish style seemed to be slightly suppressed. But “Space Cakes” brings back the hysterical style. As with many issues, the backgrounds are filled with plenty of jokes. The exaggerated facial expressions perfectly hit the punch lines in Layman’s script. The “lick your painting” quote worked that much more because Guillory gave Toni a perfect serious face. Couldn’t help but laugh. The recurring middle finger gag had me laughing rather hard. After rereading #27, there are a few recurring gags that come back. It makes #27, already a funny issue, that much funnier. There have been a few running sight gags throughout the series, and Guillory continues to make the funny, despite the reader seeing them so many times.
Chew #26 is a strong start to a new arc. Long time fans will love the direction the creative team are brining our favorite food based book.
Chew #26 gets 4.5/5.
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