In the middle of a case involving Canadian Mounties high on radioactive, LSD-infused maple syrup, Tony Chu and his FDA partner John Colby find themselves abducted by aliens from the future! Or the characters from Outer Darkness (hey, it’s my review and I’ll tell it however I want to). Tony and John are brought aboard The Charon, and tasked with aiding the crew on a highly important diplomatic mission: a mission in dire need of someone with Tony’s unique skill set, or at least the skill set they think he has.
Set sometime after Chew #60, but also during Chew #18, and somewhere in the middle of season one of Outer Darkness, this is a crossover comic that brings together two of John Layman’s Image series in an unexpected and entirely entertaining way. I feel that the three creators have found a way to effortlessly connect both the grounded and intergalactic portions of Layman’s work by finding the common elements between the two series involved, and using them to create a bridge between the titles. Even though there’s a lot to establish, and a lot of characters to introduce, I feel like the introduction of Tony and John along with the crew from The Charon is presented in a smooth and straight forward way, establishing every character as they’re needed, making this an interesting jumping on point for new readers as well as existing fans of either book.
It’s testament to John Layman’s writing that the narrative feels like an organic event, especially considering just how different the two series are. Perhaps it might not seem that way if you’re new to both series, but my initial thoughts are that against all the odds this is a fairly easy jumping-on point for both books going forward, with the crossover feeling more like an offbeat episode of Star Trek than anything else.
Despite having noticeably different styles, both Afu Chan and Rob Guillory’s artwork throughout this issue are fantastic. Chan is the artist for the majority of the issue, bringing the same great style seen throughout Outer Darkness, and his take on both Tony Chu and John Colby feels both unique and in keeping with Guillory’s character designs. Equally, Rob Guillory’s contribution to this first issue immediately reminded me why I loved Chew so much — every panel is packed with energy, easily missed jokes, and blindingly bright coloring.
Before I read this issue, I didn’t know a lot about the crossover. I’m a big fan of both Chew and Outer Darkness, and I’m pleased to see that this will be a limited series rather than just a one-shot. With two solid artists working on the book and Layman’s unique story ideas, I think this is a good read for fans of either series and new readers alike.