Indie Comics Spotlight-Chew Warrior Chicken Poyo, And Then Emily Was Gone, Low

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by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)


Chew Warrior Chicken Poyo #1


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Poyo was there. There to save the day. To dispense justice. And vengeance.”

There’s a fear of the robots uprising and enslaving humanity. Maybe the fear should shift the other way, towards the animals humanity has domesticated for whatever reason. Because when one of those creatures is domesticated with the ability to easily handle any enemy in combat, we’re likely going to be in big trouble. Poyo is one such character and he’s doling out even more justice in Chew Warrior Chicken Poyo #1 from Image Comics. The issue is written and lettered by John Layman and illustrated and colored by Rob Guillory (with color assists by Taylor Wells).

Poyo is a legend among legends. He deftly moves from preventing one disaster to preventing another, all while utterly dominating his opponents in ways that you wouldn’t think possible. His latest journey takes him to Yoek, a faraway land where a menacing Grocerymancer has turned vegetables against the kingdom’s inhabitants. Poyo is called upon to save the kingdom and the day, which gives him plenty of chances to act all sorts of awesome.

As a character, Poyo is who he is. And who he is is a combat-ready chicken with a propensity for delivering violence to all manner of opponent. Layman doesn’t let up at all in Chew Warrior Chicken Poyo #1 in that regard, as Poyo travels through a plethora of obstacles en route to becoming king. Those fighting journeys are extremely enjoyable to follow along with and Layman paces the book with about as much breakneck speed as Poyo fights with. The dialogue is excessively snappy and amusing, with Layman paying homage to quite a few other works in pop fiction that fans will love. What’s more is that the story is just so crazy that it works; that is, Layman doesn’t try to make it anything more than it needs to be from a storytelling standpoint. He essentially puts combatants in Poyo’s way for the explicit purpose of him destroying them.

Considering the amount of violence in the book, Guillory does a great job of not letting it overwhelm the reader in terms of gore. There are some pretty intense panels though, including some blood spatters and other injuries that don’t really seem to be all that fun. Poyo blends in very well with the characters around him and Guillory makes him feel as if he’s a character who could easily slot into any world. Poyo is illustrated with an air of mystery about him that makes him feel that much more legendary, which helps with the overall feel of triumph in the book. All of the references to other works are presented in ways that quickly evoke the reference in the reader and are extremely amusing at the same time. And he’s somehow made carrots, asparagus, and gourds look excessively menacing and murderous.

Chew Warrior Chicken Poyo #1 is a very simple concept: a warrior chicken fighting a man commanding angry vegetables to subdue a kingdom. It’s a plot that’s rife with being ludicrous, but it’s so damn amusing and entertaining that you can’t help go along for the ride. Layman’s leading chicken is unparalleled in his combat prowess and fights evil with a tireless enthusiasm that would make Jack Bauer envious. Guillory’s illustrations blend together violence and matter-of-fact humor in a way that emphasizes the right emotion at the right time. Chew Warrior Chicken Poyo #1 is a joy to read and will definitely make anyone a believer in the capabilities of the chicken warrior known as Poyo.

Chew Warrior Chicken Poyo #1 is in stores now.

And Then Emily Was Gone #1

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”And then Emily was gone.”

There are stories parents tell to their children to keep them in line. Stories that teeter on the edge of being downright evil. And while many of the stories are just that – stories – there are people in the world who are capable of more evil than the fictional characters of morality. Those people exist in our world and are explored in And Then Emily Was Gone #1 from ComixTribe. The issue is written by John Lees, illustrated by Iain Laurie, colored by Megan Wilson, and lettered by Colin Bell.

Greg has a unique ability: he can see monsters in life instead of people. It’s something that has pushed him to the edge, forcing him to retire as a detective and find ways to soothe the madness seemingly ever present in front of him. That madness subsides when he’s greeted by Fiona knocking on his door and seeking his assistance in finding her friend Emily, who mysteriously disappeared. Fiona thinks there are devilish forces at work and feels that Greg is the only one capable of providing her the assistance she needs to find her missing friend.

In what is an extremely ambitious first issue, Lees goes for broke. Probably the most apt comparison to the book is Luther, as both pitch a troubled detective against an undercurrent of seemingly evil individuals inhabiting the world of the living. There are a few varying plotlines introduced in the first issue, all of which will likely merge at some point. Lees methodically lays them out in a way that slowly pulls the reader along deeper into the burgeoning mystery. Greg and Fiona’s journey is the main thrust of the book, but there are two other sub-plots that speak to what is likely a larger evil pulling strings behind the scenes. There’s also the curious legend of Bonnie Shaw thrown in to add a certain level of boogeyman to everything, making the story feel less like a standard police book and more like a supernatural thriller.

While the story is shaping up to be very sound, Laurie’s art will likely be the bigger talking point. His illustrations are extremely crude in a way that’s befitting of the vagueness surrounding the characters involved. It’s a style that eschews the sheen and finish found in most books for something more primal, perhaps something that speaks to the notion that everyone has ugliness inside of them. It’s a style that will likely turn off a lot of readers because it does look juvenile in some instances, but it’s perfectly fitting for the eeriness of the story. Laurie uses a lot of interesting perspectives – many of which feature one character towering over another – that seem to indicate the power that some people have over others. The illustrations are emboldened by Wilson’s muddy color choice that keeps the book down in the doldrums, save for a few splashes of red and pink when things get violent.

And Then Emily Was Gone #1 is a very intriguing book. On first read, the entirety of the story didn’t completely sink in, but a subsequent read showed there’s a lot being woven together. The title of the book itself is a pretty powerful hook and does a great job of presenting the reader a glimpse of what’s in store for them. Lees establishes a few key players in the first issue and does so in a way that doesn’t feel at all forced. Laurie’s art is very volatile in some ways and keeps the vagueness of the book intact thanks to his lack of a more traditional structure. And Then Emily Was Gone #1 starts the story by throwing a lot of balls in the air that readers can hope will be successfully juggled and given proper attention when the time comes.

And Then Emily Was Gone #1 is in stores now.

Low #1

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”We huddle together. My small family seeking comfort from a world determined to separate us.”

Family coping amidst harsh living situations always makes for fascinating reading. How those families cope in situations where they can play a pivotal role in the survival of the human species if even more fascinating. That’s what the reader finds in Low #1 from Image Comics, written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Greg Tocchini, and lettered by Rus Wooton.

It’s the distant future, when humanity has relocated to radiation-shielded cities below the sea and the surface of the planet has become a scorched, uninhabitable wasteland. A probe has returned with information on a possible alternative planet for humans, but it has landed on the Earth’s surface. A few brave representatives from the warring human clans venture out to retrieve it and the hopeful news it bears.

The world of Low #1 is extremely fascinating, courtesy of Remender’s talents as a writer. The concept of humanity living in the depths of the world’s oceans isn’t too far-fetched, but how he frames it around one family’s daily routine is very inspiring. That family serves as a microcosm of civilization’s struggles in Low #1. They want to make their way and survive and have a rather lovely family dynamic they all share in. They also play a pretty pivotal role in the events of the first issue and likely the series, mainly because of the Helm Suit, a relic they keep in their family. The story plays out around the family, using that family heirloom as a jumping point for the entirety of the series.

Tocchini’s art is breathtaking. It offers a very unique look at a society under the water, with characters who aren’t overly exaggerated in terms of art style and accents. The way he illustrates characters and backgrounds make both components feel like part of a larger whole and neither stands out from the other. He relies on a rather heady blend of seemingly simple geometric shapes to convey the action in a way that feels sufficiently dramatic enough considering the stakes. The color palette draws heavily on reds and greens in a way that sort of snaps the reader out of the realization that the book takes place underwater.

Low #1 is a very strong first issue that beautifully lays out the story in a way that’s extremely exciting. The stakes are laid out as very high, with the fate of the characters involved and the civilization as a whole hanging in the balance. Remender’s characters are very impassioned about their lives and interactions with one another, even if those interactions come with some less than friendly individuals. Tocchini’s illustrations are beautiful in a somewhat dystopian way that is very befitting of the premise and story behind Low #1. It’s a book that is definitely worth reading and starts off a rather exciting storyline that promises to only get better.

Low #1 is in stores now.


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