We learned two vitally important lessons from the first issue of writer John Layman’s new Chu series. One, never eat a big meal before pulling off a job. Two, taking a gig with the second-largest crime boss to rob the first is probably not the best idea. Chu #2 sees the ripple effects of the heist gone wrong show up on Saffron Chu’s doorstep in the form of a hitman named Mr. Murder. Mr. Murder is hired by the first gangster Bucatini to track down Saffron and her crew members with one objective: kill them.
First and foremost, this is a very well written comic book, packed with many entertaining elements and a fantastic cast of characters. Most of the tropes and typical things you expect from a heist-gone-wrong caper are present and accounted for, yet Chu #2 has such a fresh feel to it. It probably helps that Layman is great at creating interesting, unique, and fun characters like Mr. Murder. If someone had told me I’d ever read and love a comic with an assassin who gets jacked up on an energy drink called Energy Blast before he kills people, I would have thought you were crazy.
Aside from the murderous Mr. Murder, Chu #2 as a whole does an incredible job of keeping the reader guessing. Page for page, the tropes you think you know are twisted and manipulated in very fun ways. One minute we see someone decapitating people, then the action shifts to an awkward Chu siblings dinner. It’s a fast-paced read that delivers a lot of information through the dialogue of the characters, and the ending will have you running to your local comic shop to pick up Chu #3.
Dan Boultwood’s illustrations continue to do this universe justice. His panel layouts are great, very detailed, clean, and although cartoony, bring a serious vibe to the story that’s being told. He’s very good at making each character design stand apart from one another. Rob Guillory would be extremely proud.
In addition to that, there are some hysterical nostalgic TV references placed in the background of several panels throughout the book that readers will enjoy. See how many you can spot, and count how many times David Hasselhoff shows up. Boultwood’s art shows that both he and Layman are having a blast putting together each issue. I’m sure there are a ton of inventive things coming in the future.
If you collect variant covers, there’s an awesome cover done by Rob Guillory that pays homage to New Mutants #87 by Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane, so be sure to be on the lookout for that.
Overall, Chu #2 was a blast to read and just reinforces what made most people fans of the original series. It’s a fast-paced fun time that wastes no time kicking the story into high gear while supplying plenty of laughs and the type of twisted shenanigans that only writer John Layman knows how to deliver.