We’re a little shorthanded this week over at BCP Towers, but we still managed to assemble a few of our review team to cast a collective eye over the intriguing prospect of a Chew/Revival crossover. Some had a lot to say, while others summed their thoughts up in just a few words, but the team seemed to be pretty much in unanimous agreement on this one. Take a look;
I really wanted to like this book, and while there were a few laughs to be had, it fell really flat. While the art was to its usual standard, it felt like a parody of itself and the realistic style of Tony Chu on the revival side just looked wrong.
While I’m sure there are people out there that will enjoy the series, I just don’t see the point in it and that makes me sad.
I’m pretty sure my fellow reviewers will point out the obvious difficulties in making Chew and Revival work alongside each other, so I’ll dispense with that particular train of thought, and simply say that this crossover stumbles a lot along the way.
I have never agreed that Chew is as good a book as it gets credit for. The premise certainly captures the imagination, but Rob Guillory’s artwork has always been the most off-putting aspect of Chew for me, and while the humour works a lot of the time, the ‘shenanigans’ that tend to fill out the background in a lot of scenes here really grate on you to the point that the last page just can’t come fast enough. Luckily the pacing is so fast that you get to the very predictable end pretty quickly.
Chew’s failures here give Revival a chance to shine, and while it doesn’t quite reach stellar heights in this story, it is by far the better written and better looking half of the crossover. The dialogue, pacing, and overall tone of Revival simply puts Chew to shame. The dialogue feels much more natural, and the way Tim Seeley handles Tony Chu’s cibopathic abilities without a constant gross-out comedy slant is a welcome and refreshing change.
Despite all it’s pros and cons, ultimately this crossover feels like a big waste of time. The story fails to advance any of the characters or either of the titles, and more than anything serves to show the reader how much better ‘Chew’ could be…if it was a different book.
Whilst individually, Chew and Revival in and of themselves are pretty damn solid comics – particularly Chew, which is a fascinatingly silly concept made good – having them crossover doesn’t exactly seem like the most logical of steps. I’d honestly argue that the intersection in the Venn diagram of Chew and Revival’s audience is pretty slim, which begs the question of ‘why?’, with a look of mild confusion on your face.
And indeed, the two’s tones are continually at odds with one another as they progress through a new Revival mystery that only Mr Chu can solve – what results is a tonally inconsistent book that has to tread delicately, lest it derail the plots of its two sources, and so it ends up feeling a little inconsequential to boot. Layman’s is the stronger half, but only by a smidgen – mainly because it injects Revival’s story with Chew’s trademarked slightly silly humour, which borders on welcome, but never truly finds its stride.
The art is good on both counts, Rob Guillory and Mike Norton allowed to continue – and indeed juxtapose – their styles unabated, and both have their own unique charms that do suit their sources, but again, they feel more than a little at odds here, and seeing Norton render the Chew characters realistically is more than a touch unsettling.
It’s not strictly speaking bad – its sources are too strong for that to happen. But it doesn’t really do a lot to justify its existence, and this is only really worth picking up if you fall into that narrow middle ground. If you’re into one or the other, it’s completely skippable.