REVIEW: Chum #1 (of 3)

A little while ago, I took a snapshot look at Chum, the new book brought you by Ryan K. Lindsay and Sami Kivela via Comix Tribe and I was impressed by the swirl of the book.  Now, with the release date breaking, time to grab your boards hit the waves dudes!

Chum features the inhabitants of Kingsford Island, each with their own frailties, dreams and darkness that threatens to envelope them.  There is Summer, owner of the bar, Penny, the silent undertow of the island with people very rarely challenging him and Standard the cop who hates everything apart from Summer, who he hates just a little less.  This triumvirate circle each other like swirls waiting to break, creating a wave that will control everyone else or cause a wipeout.  Each relationship has its own complexity, all of which seems a natural resonance created by choices or station in life.  Following an attempted killing, Gus receives a hero’s welcome.  But the big lug has a soft spot for Summer, who uses this to her advantage only for the following actions bringing out an a level of focus from local crook Penny and local cop (and ex-husband) Standard.

Co-creator and writer Ryan K. Lindsay, according to his tweets, may worry about his lack of surfing nuance, however the surf element is only the element that these people find themselves in.  What Lindsay does excel at is writing the human condition.  This was true in Negative Space and it is more so in Chum.  Summer and Standard live a life of quiet acceptance, which creates its own weight, accepting something you don’t want to do or life you don’t want to lead.  At least with Summer, she manage to eke chumout a best of a bad situation.  Penny on the other hand seems content as the de facto King of the ocean tides.  The dialogue is matches the tone of the book extremely well, neatly avoid caricature and for the most part, avoiding cliché.

Sami Kivela, whose worked has been seen in a number of Zenescope books, provides the art and shares the co-creator tag.  Now I don’t mind Zenescope books, even if at times I mention that they seem to prescribe to a “house style” when it comes to art.  I have often wondered how their artist would fair if let loose.  Chum, in part is the answer to that question.  Kivela mixes up his line work, smooth the delineated in places, contrasting the heavier look in other environments.  Inking his own work shows the benefits of inking your own work, no need to explain what you want.  Story telling skills are shown via different panel structures and camera angles.  Colors are excellent, provided by Mark Dale, giving the island paradise a dirty feel, as if all the positivity has been washed away, which could be seen as a way of using color to provide a metaphor of how Summer and to a certain point, Standard feels about the island.

Whilst this book may not offer anything new to the whole crime noir genre, the setting help create an unusual juxtaposition between paradise and hell.  Under the writing skills of Lindsay and the art of Kivela, I am going to enjoy my visit to Kingsford, it surely meets the definition of a great place to visits, but I would hate to live there.”

Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Color – 5 Stars

(W) Ryan Lindsay (A) Sami Kivela (CA) Sami Kivela, Vic Malhotra
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