If you have been keeping up with the Image series by John Layman and Rob Guillory, then you, like us, are likely in mourning over the apparent death of Poyo, the cyborg luchador rooster strategically employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to kill and cluck things up as is necessary.
Poyo’s side adventures in Chew are the stuff of legend, and in fact at one point take place in a fantasy world. The double-page spreads of Poyo fighting horrific mash-up monsters are one of the best gags in a book filled with them.
So in tribute to the robot-eyed rooster, here’s every badass thing Poyo ever did.
Issue 8: First appearance. Poyo at this point is just a normal luchador rooster caged by cockfighting gangsters on the island of Yamapalu. FDA Agent Tony Chu – on the island investigating a mysterious fruit that tastes like chicken – rescues Poyo along with the island’s chief of police, who in turn steals the bird.
Issue 12: Ex-Chief Kulolo is found near-fatally beaten in an alley, Poyo stolen by a cockfight organizer named Butcher. Says perennial FDA informant D-Bear: “Listen, I seen Poyo fight. That f----- bird is a demon. A demon.” Chu frees Poyo from his cage, and the bird in turn claws and pecks out the eyes of his captors. “Told you, yo. A demon.”
Issue 18: Poyo is unleashed during a mission for the USDA, which pairs cartoonishly busty humans with cybernetically enhanced animals. Poyo stays hidden in a crate until such time as he is needed, at which point he proceeds to do what he does best – peck and claw the faces of the enemy, in this case a North Korean military analog. When a general appears to shoot him to death, Poyo gets up, leaps at him and tears out his heart with his beak. Chu describes Poyo as “Concentrated mayhem. Feathers, rage and hate.” Or, as a narration box puts it, “Poyo is just really, really badass.”
Issue 25: Poyo, the USDA’s “only agent with a 100% mission success rate,” is teamed up with Chu’s then-ex-partner John Colby, who at this point was working for the USDA while Chu had literally been busted down to meter maid.
Secret Agent Poyo one-shot: A flashback shows how the USDA gave Poyo his cybernetic bits. It also tells the story of how Poyo defeated the legions of Hell and Satan himself before being brought back to life because, as Satan puts it, “That is one badass motherf----- bird.” It is in this one-shot that the legend of Poyo starts to become a series of epic adventures against forces even stranger than those confronted by Chu and his human allies, such as the Irradiated Zookeeper’s Revenge, the Viltrumite Interstellar Mustache Wars, Ghenghis Condor and his Mutant Mongol Tyrano-Riders, and Icons Affiliated, which apparently was that time he teamed up with ’90s Image characters such as Spawn, Savage Dragon, Witchblade and Shadowhawk. The one-shot’s main story, however, is about Poyo working with the British government to take down a mad scientist who’s found a way to make it rain livestock. Poyo gets zapped by Dr. Regenbogen’s device, finds himself falling from the sky, meets a cute chicken on the way down who gets zapped by lightning, turns his cybernetic wing into rocket thrusters and sets a course right for Regenbogen’s head, which explodes upon impact. After Poyo gets up, his human British partner declares, “Yeah, f---ers, POYO!!!”
Issue 28: Bites off Chu’s sister’s index finger for getting cutesy with him. Takes out a squad of E.G.G. terrorists, rending arms, eyes, ears and jaws.
Issue 29: The first of the, “Hey, where’s Poyo?” double-page spreads: “Terror in Tokyo: Poyo vs. Mecha-Turducken!”
Issue 33: “Hey, where’s Poyo?” – “Antarctic Annihilation: Poyo vs. Pengthulu!” (Imagine a red-eyed penguin with the head and tentacles of an octopus, and its many, many children)
Issue 36: “Hey, where’s Poyo?” – “Grocery Grotesquery: Poyo vs. Mutant Corn and Superfish!” (Why, yes, it is an ear of corn with rock-hard biceps and a fish that shoots laser beams from its eyes)
Issue 41: “Hey, where’s Poyo?” – “Eve of Extinction: Poyo vs. Unisaurus Rex!” (Possibly my favorite of the double-pagers, a pink T-rex with a yellow-and-pink Mohawk, a unicorn horn and a My Little Pony tail that roars rainbows)
Issue 42: “Hey, where’s Poyo?” – “Maritime Malice: Poyo vs. the Quacken!” (Half-duck, half-squid that dresses like Donald Duck, who fights alongside his three nephews and his gold-hoarding uncle, a woo-woo!)
Warrior Chicken Poyo one-shot: Poyo is transported to a fantasy dimension to help thwart an evil wizard who can turn vegetables into monsters. In this realm, he teams up with many a knockoff of the Fellowship of the Ring and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Poyo defeats the wizard by jamming himself down the wizard’s throat and ripping out his skeleton from the inside. For his heroics, Poyo is made king of the land, but the rooster they see before him is only a lookalike, for the real Poyo is needed “Wherever there is evil. Or injustice. Or just some rotten sonofabitch needin’ his f----- ass beat.”
Issue 43: “Hey, where’s Poyo?” – “Parisian Peril: Poyo vs. Escargoat!” (Half-snail, half-goat. Nuff said)
Issue 44: “Hey, where’s Poyo?” – “Twin terrors: Poyo vs. Oyop!” (A metal plate on Oyop reads, “Property of Opposite World! In dog we trust!!”)
Dan Grote’s new novel, Magic Pier, is available however you get your books online. He has been writing for The Matt Signal since 2014. He and Matt have been friends since the days when making it to issue 25 guaranteed you a foil cover.