Chu #4 Review: Saffron's Prequel is Every Bit As Good As Chew

Chu #4
10/10
Chu #4 from John Layman & Dan Boultwood establishes this Chew prequel comic as a series that is every bit as good as the original.

Chu #4 continues John Layman and Dan Boultwood's excellent prequel to Layman and Rob Guillory's Chew. For three issues, the series has alluded to events in Chew while creating its own crime caper of a story, pitting Saffron unwillingly against Tony.

Chu #4 cover. Credit: Image Comics
Chu #4 cover. Credit: Image Comics

Chu continues to be one of the best reads every month, with a story that will work both for fans of Chew and people diving into the crazy world of cibopath/cibopars that Layman, Guillory, and Boultwood have created in both series. However, you may not want to meet her in person unless you wouldn't mind getting robbed, and maybe worse, Saffron is a worthy lead who is a hilarious, charming mess that is caught in her downward spiral of a life. With this fourth issue, things are coming to a head with her current bloody situation and her brother Tony's murder investigation. As with Chew, its the details of Chu that make it funniest, with the fixer at the beginning flanked with pigs that look a little too much like him, with the hilariously exaggerated way Saffron flaunts herself to a man she's scamming, and, really, with every detail in both the art and writing. It's the flourishes on the lettering (also by Layman) that bursts with flowers when Saffron is being exaggeratedly sweet, which throws a daring thought bubble in here and there, making vomiting SFX look like barf.

Chu #4 isn't just style, though. It's a perfectly plotted crime thriller that would function just as well without the jokes and sight gags. Though, what makes Chu unique is that blend: the unique balance of hyper-stylized writing, expressively cartoony artwork, dynamic characters that ride the lines of morality and decency, and plotting packed with twists at every page turn. In the back matter, Layman says that Chu will continue for multiple miniseries until Saffron's story is complete, and man… if it lasts even half as long as Chu, the comics industry will owe an even greater debt to one of its top creators because this is top-notch reading.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.