Look, this score can’t be that surprising to anybody. I love Howard the Duck. He’s in my profile picture. I have the novelization of the movie. I have a bobble head. But that’s a medical condition. It’s kind of serious actually. But I also have a Howard the Duck Funko Pop! Figure. He’s pretty much my favorite. That being said there have been some real hit and miss parts of Howard’s history. His original series is pretty solid. It’s dated but if you’re willing to dig into the history a little you’ll find a lot of humor under the surface. Humor in addition to, what I consider, the timeless humor of a sarcastic duck that doesn’t take shit. Since then there have been other attempts. He had a pretty good role as a cameo in the Ally McShulk period of the She Hulk series. He and She-Hulk have always made a good pair. He made a return in a MAX series but they couldn’t get the rights to the Duck so he spent most of the time being a rat. It had its moments but it left me kind of flat even though Howard's original writer returned for that series. Media Duckling hasn’t compelled me to read past the first couple of pages and his role in Fear Itself was more of a narrative function than anything else. Then there’s that fantastic movie, which I do ACTUALLY like. I’ll put it on wax, I don’t care. Finally, there’s this. I really liked the issue save for a couple of spots. The establishing shot of some rando alien running away along with a duck pun filled opening monologue made me worry about this issue and the final of him being in a space jail makes me a little afraid for the future. However the presence of Rocket Raccoon adds some promise to the next issue. It might be interesting to see how the two of them interact them being two unique sarcastic anthropomorphic animals.
I thought this issue was pretty funny, on par with the comedy in Squirrel Girl and we all know how I feel about that book. From Howard’s relationship with building mate She-Hulk (another favorite of mine) to his idea of breaking into Black Cat’s house using pizza delivery costumes. I laughed out loud when they revealed his theater advertisement as well as when Spider-Man thinks Howard is dead Spider-Man immediately breaks down yelling about Uncle Ben.
The original Howard the Duck lampooned comics sure but it mostly used satire to poke fun at society. This current run is funny and dripping in sarcasm but most of its lampooning is aimed directly at Marvel itself. Not so much comics as a ‘thing’ or the foibles of society. The MAX series was aimed directly at ‘grim n gritty’ and Vertigo, the original series took a lot of shots at the horror and sword n sorcery magazines of that era. I think if Marvel continues to go down this route this book might be able to provide a release valve from the occasional ridiculousness of the Marvel Universe while maybe taking shots at its competitor’s weirdness as well. Really good first issue despite a few panels of nonsense or cringe inducing exposition. I'm looking really looking forward to the future.
Score: 5/5 (I make no apologies)
Howard The Duck #1 Writer: Chip Zdarsky Artist: Joe Quinones Colorist: Rico Renzi Publisher: Marvel Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/11/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital