Story: Ryan K Lindsay
Art: Sami Kivela
Colors: Mark Dale
Release Date: 1st June, 2016
I love a good trashy crime story. It can be gritty noir in the most entertaining way, something we don’t see a lot in our crime shows and movies, something that resonates more in old school pulp crime novels. Chum #1 was a book I admired in concept, but the writing hurt the story so much for me, crushing its potential to be something great. Does this issue suffer from the same problem, or does it pick up the broken pieces of the previous book? Let’s dive into this islander noir and have a look.
In issue #2 of the 3-part Chum mini-series, Summer continues her trail of fucking over guys to get her bag of money and drugs and get the hell off of the island. As it goes with most of these tales, her plan doesn’t go exactly how she thought it would and she’s forced to take messy steps to ensure her escape from this crime-filled town. Tensions rise as everyone around Summer begins to close in on her and her plans.
As I said above, I was not a fan of the first issue of this mini-series, but issue #2 is definitely a step in the right direction. I’ll get into my problems later, but there is a lot to be admired about this issue, such as the pacing. One of the storytelling aspects that the writers aimed for (as is said in the epilogue after each issue) was a very quick story that got in and out to tell its story in just enough time to deliver a fast paced thriller. Some elements feel rushed, but considering the trashy, pulpy story going on in this series, I think the fast-pace is important. This isn’t a story that has great characters that you want to get to know, it’s about “Okay I did this thing, now I have to get the fuck out of here” and this issue in particular captures that tension of Summer having to get out as quick as she can. I don’t give a shit about Summer as a character, but the fast-paced storytelling still manages to suck me in somehow and make me feel invested.
Something that I’ve loved from issue #1 is the art, which is so unique and atmospheric, setting stage for a world that I want to be immersed in. Mark Dale and Sami Kivela manage to give you that island look and feel, sometimes the scene is orange and sun-kissed, but you still have that gloomy atmosphere. There’s a great scene in this issue, where it’s cloudy and rainy and very dark, giving me the feel of a great, old school thriller from the 80’s. The coloring is gorgeous and the designs are very stylized and fit the trashy story being told. I keep saying trashy not only because of the grit and grime of the characters themselves, but also because of this dirty world you are thrust into. Even the covers for the issues have been gorgeous thus far, each of them are art pieces themselves. The artistry lends itself to the stylish entertainment being had here.
Sure, this is a step in the right direction, but I still do have a major problem, which is the dialogue. I think the dialogue has improved since the previous issue, and it lends itself to that trashy storytelling, but even for that kind of storytelling it’s pretty bad. At times it feels like the first draft of the script, as opposed to the finished product. Again, the story is entertaining enough to get past that, but it’s still a glaring problem with this issue.
I was pleasantly surprised with this month’s issue of Chum, and it was certainly a step above the previous issue. It’s not exactly a compelling story, but for the trashy, pulpy crime approach that it’s going for, I think it nails that style of storytelling. The pacing is fast, the art is gorgeous and although the dialogue is still bad at times, it’s definitely better than the previous issue. After reading issue #1 I never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually looking forward to next month’s finale to this story.
Is this a book that you should instantly rush out and get? No, not really. But for what it is, I think it’s entertaining enough. It’s great toilet material, which may sound like an insult, but it’s not meant to be. When you’re killing some time and need a quick read, this is something that fits the bill just fine. This is the equivalent of saying that you should catch a movie on Netflix or Red Box.
The writer of this piece was: Mike Annerino
Mike Tweets from @MikeAnnerino