In a near future where bird flu has killed millions, only one man can solve certain crimes... by eating corpses. Welcome to John Layman's wonderful new comic, Chew.
Taking a page from Brian K. Vaughan's Y: The Last Man, Image Comics' new series Chew starts from a disaster easily imaginable to many, and grows from there. Layman - a former editor for DC Comics' Wildstorm imprint - explained the series' concept to Newsarama.com:
The story is set in the very near future, three years after a bird flu epidemic killed 16 million people around the globe. In American, the F.D.A. is now the most powerful law enforcement agency in the world, sorta like Dept. of Homeland Security after 9/11, and the federal government has instituted a Poultry Prohibition to ensure there are no more outbreaks of the avian flu. Tony Chu has been brought on to the Special Crimes Unit of the F.D.A., where his special talents are put to good use.
Those "special talents" lead character Chu possesses would be a particularly unexpected psychic gift, according to the writer:
He's Cibopathic, which means he can eat an apple, and tell you what tree it was harvested from and what pesticides were used on it. Or eat a hamburger, and feel what the cow felt when it was slaughtered. Or... he can chew on a murder victim, and see the victim's last moment, and the murderer, and so on.
Don't just expect quirky murders and easily-wrapped-up crimes from Chew, however; Layman promises that the series "has an ending," like Y and Preacher, and that there's more going on with the avian flu setting than may be immediately apparent... including criminal subcultures trying to keep a traditional Thanksgiving alive.
The new series, illustrated by Rob Guillory, launches in June.
John Layman on Debuting 'Chew' [Newsarama.com]