By Todd Allen
Debuting this week, concurrent with Comicon, is the Secret Agent Poyo special from Image. Poyo is a rooster. A fighting rooster. The deadliest fighting rooster in the world. So yes, this comic has it’s roots in cockfighting, but Poyo will basically kill anything that moves. Yes, Poyo is an angry bird. Poyo first turned up in Chew a couple years back and was an instant hit. This is the character’s close up and it almost defies description.
I’m hesitant to get into many details for this comic. It’s an off-the-wall farce and part of what makes it work so well is the audacity with which it jumps around and extreme lengths it goes to for a joke. It’s really better if you don’t see it coming.
Essentially, creators Layman and Guillory take the “feathers, rage and hate” motif and run with it. The scenery ranges from the heavens to Hell (with a devil who will look familiar to Chew regulars). There’s a send up of a standard superspy plot, this time with an animal twist. As the scenery changes and the plot progress Poyo kills whatever is in his path. With extra blood and body parts flying.
In a way, this reminds me a little bit of Scott McCloud’s Destroy!!. Destroy!! was McCloud’s sardonic attempt to make a comic that was just one big mindless fight scene. And it was hilarious. Secret Agent Poyo does have a plot and some extra gags, but the thrust of it is the absurdity of a series of dismemberments and beat downs. And in that, it is glorious.
The book is advertised as having some pin-ups. These pin-ups are a little more than just extra art. They’re an extension of the death-dealing theme of the book. They’re really a series of increasingly over-the-top mini-posters of Poyo destroying people. There’s a re-occurring injury to the eye motif, for example. And pay careful attention to the lettering on the Nick Pitarra/Felipe Sobreiro piece.
If you like dark, surrealist humor and can find laughter in grotesquely exaggerated violence, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better example of it. If you show a copy to a member of PETA… I’m not sure what would happen. Probably hysteria. Especially if you show them page when it rains.
Highly recommended for those with a dark sense of humor. ESSENTIAL reading if you normally pick up Chew.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.