Chew Volume Two: International Flavour – John Layman

This is the difficult second album. How can you compete with the deliciously simple yet astoundingly original ideas from the first book? You can’t. This book is great but it is uncomfortably dwarfed by the genius of its predecessor.

The art, prologues, concepts and characters are no longer new, yet not familiar enough to feel like family. It gets a bit more wacky and outlandish as you discover there are worse things to eat than dead people. After new characters come and go, all too briefly, it settles down to progressing events from the previous book. Reassuringly it answers those nagging questions you have and addresses those head-scratching events of the last volume so you start to see the bigger picture and things feel more comfortable. Previous characters return, and there are some more laugh out loud moments.

The art hasn’t changed style but doesn’t feel as polished. Clearly the monthly deadline doesn’t allow as much time as the artist would like. Special mention must go to the lettering. We see very few innovations in this area but there have been some really nice touches. A frosty retort has icicles on the speech bubble; an exclamation has the letters bursting out of the bubble; whispers use faint lettering and so on.

If you liked the last book then you will definitely be buying this one. Whilst it isn’t as shockingly new anymore the ideas are still original and the whole work is put together with love and care. This isn’t a cynical cash-making endeavour this is premium storytelling. Certainly a Thumbs Up!

95/270.

Tomorrow: Chew Volume Three: Just Deserts – John Layman

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