Books: Graphic Novel

Taster's Choice (2009)

Taster's Choice (2009) John Layman and Rob Guillory

Chew: Tasters ChoiceTony Chu is a Cibopath. When he eats something, he gets impressions of the past (and even present) of whatever he eats. Which makes meat really unappealing, since he can see the last moments of the animal before it was slaughtered or even as it was hung up for the blood to drain out.

This skill makes him a very good–if extremely unlikely and somewhat disgusting–detective.

I really loved the idea of this. Being able to solve crimes by eating the corpse? Disgusting and yet crazy valuable. (Oddly, there was a similar (but not quiet the same) idea in the superhero anthology Masked.)

The implementation, however, I didn't love.

First, I recognize the serial nature of comics, and that they have to draw you in and keep you in. But there was a lot that was thrown out in this volume that made it feel like it was jumping around too much for me to comfortably follow. Aliens AND vampires AND crime lords AND evil chickens AND magic? Tad too much for me for a single volume.

Magic you say? Well, yes. Because they way his powers are described in this story, I don't see how Tony Chu's powers could be anything but magic. I can accept the idea of picking up psychic impressions of what someone or something has been through by ingesting that thing. (Really! I can.) But I don't get how he could get impressions of what has happened to an object after it has died–or been separated from the main body?

I know. It's fantasy/science fiction. I should accept it and move on. Except that it doesn't make sense to me, and that BUGS me. So worrying about the things that felt inconsistent kept throwing me out of the story, which pretty much ruined things for me.

It seems to me that either a creature/plant would stop collecting impressions after it died, or it would collect everything, which means that anything he ingests should give a strong impression of the very last thing that happened to it. I can see picking up death and murder and other strong emotional events because I think such events would leave a strong impression. But getting random bits that occurred after death or separation from the main body? That just doesn't make sense to me.

So, for that, I didn't enjoy the story, and will probably be annoyed with it for some time to come, as I try and figure out a rationale for how it would work.

Published by Image