Bold, ridiculous and refreshing from the Frazetta-homage on the cover to the collection of Poyo pin-ups at the back, “Chew: Warrior Chicken Poyo” #1 is exactly what readers would expect from John Layman and Rob Guillory in a comic book headlined by their poultry powerhouse. Filled with sight gags and standard-issue Layman-Guillory humor, this story is a continuity-light romp through wild colored settings and even more eccentric characters walking the pages.
In the fanciful land of YÃ¶ek, Poyo is faced with numerous vegetable threats that appear to be the work of a Groceryomancer. He is assigned a legion of warriors to fight alongside and — in typical “Chew” fashion — things go awry, leaving Poyo to fly solo. Some of his co-combatants manage their way through, but Layman and Guillory make no small work of having fun with the cannon-fodder characters, their situations and the outcomes. Comic books are an unlimited budget special effects-free playground, and Guillory celebrates that, with monstrous tomatoes flinging themselves via catapults, Poyo ascending a kingly throne and a dazzling display of daring-do to open up the issue.
Opening with a Jack Ryan/James Bond-level action sequence that quickly trips into a vat of ludicrously wacky and preposterous comic book science and coincidence, “Chew: Warrior Chicken Poyo” #1 never takes a breath. Layman realizes the story needs to be active and upbeat, so that is exactly what he delivers, despite the carnage and violence filling the panels. For his part, Guillory keeps things upbeat and darkly whimsical thanks to his expressively cartoonish style. Layman calls for orcs and okra, Guillory delivers, and readers can only be amazed that they’re seeing the completely unexpected, even for a book crafted by this exceptionally uncanny creative crew.
Completely irreverent, unapologetic and enjoyable for the romp that it is, “Chew: Warrior Chicken Poyo” #1 is to comics what “Family Guy” is to animated television. Everything a reader needs to enjoy the series is contained in one easily accessible issue. Readers need nothing more coming into this comic book than an open mind, a slightly off-kilter sense of humor and an appreciation for the really, really absurd. If readers bring that with them to “Chew: Warrior Chicken Poyo” #1, Layman and Guillory meet right in the middle, fulfilling hopes and expectations completely. Layman and Guillory tease readers with the possibility for more Poyo adventures, and if this is any indication of what we could expect, anything short of more would be a disappointment. Do yourself and your funny bone a favor and grab some chicken this week — “Chew: Warrior Chicken Poyo” #1.