Chew #50’s wraparound cover leaves no subtlety as to what’s about to take place. At last, we’ve arrived at the denouement to the series-long conflict between Tony Chu and the Collector, giving our protagonist the chance to avenge his sister’s death. In order to be a match for the Collector, whose accumulated powers have made him practically invincible, Tony has picked up a performance-enhancer of his own: he has feasted on the flesh of Poyo and absorbed the rooster’s unfettered badassery, a transubstantiation that turns him into an efficient vehicle of vengeance.
It’s unlikely any fan of the series wasn’t upset by Poyo’s abrupt demise in issue #45. However, even if unnecessary on a logistical level (Couldn’t they have just sent Poyo in to take out the Collector?), it’s nonetheless vital on a thematic one. No one but Tony can face the Collector, and, as his departed twin sister affirms during their psychic encounter, this is the only way Tony can defeat him. Fortunately, Layman and Guillory make it a point to pay tribute to the Poyo throughout the issue, giving a sense of his presence that even the most rankled reader should find satisfying.
The final showdown unfolds in a fairly straightforward and ultimately satisfying fashion. However, I was troubled by the ominous epilogue, which comes out of nowhere to leave things on a needlessly sour note. Then again, Layman and Guillory have a knack for uniting seemingly loose ends later on, so who knows—maybe by issue #60, it’ll seem more fitting.
Review by James Florence.