This month isn’t as good as last months. I thought last issue told a pretty coherent story and then layered that story with a bunch of in-jokes, sight gags and comedy references whereas this issue is just a series of events, but with humor throughout. It still gets a four because of my love for Howard, I’ve already read the issue twice, which I don’t normally do, and was rewarded for the second reading by a bunch of stuff I missed in the background. That stuff includes a pretty funny video if you happen to own the Marvel AR app, which I do, because I’m a huge nerd. The story takes us through a pretty standard jailbreak. Rocket Raccoon, who Howard keeps calling a ‘little space werewolf’, engineers getting caught so he and the Guardians of the Galaxy can steal a Celestial heart from the collection of The Collector. There is a pretty decent cameo from the Guardians, but other than Rocket and perhaps Star-Lord no one else gets any character moments. They all get lines, but only Peter Quill gets anything resembling personality in his lines, the rest is generic plot dumping. There is some pretty decent action as Howard panics and Rocket shoots things.
The problem with reviewing comedy is that it’s hard to comment on something as subjective and nuanced as comedy. The review can tend to devolve into just repeating the funniest lines or describing the funniest scenes and, I think, that tends to drain all the comedy out of it. The plot description is pretty thin because most of it is just banter between Rocket and Howard, which is great, and comedy beats, which I thought were funny. The basic plot, when removed of those elements, doesn’t amount to much.
Do you like sarcastic humor? Does a laid back computer system helping Rocket out sound funny? Does the idea of Drax shaving a map into Rockets fur make you giggle? How do you feel about Howard calling people ‘sexy prisoners’ as he uses their own restraint devices against them? Do you think a book titled ’50 Shades of Gamma Ray’ is anything (and the prisoner reading it expressing a bondage interest)? If you are curious about any of those ideas then you’ll probably get some enjoyment out of this. If you’re answer to all those was a blank stare followed by spitting on the ground then you might give this a big ol’ goose egg, or duck egg in this case. It does however end with Aunt May sticking a gun in Howards face and anytime you give Aunt May a gun I’m a pretty happy guy.
There’s a back-up story about Luke Cage and Iron Fist suing Howard for the use of ‘Hero for Hire’ which is probably the funniest thing about this issue. There are some classic Howard moments where he’s being a sarcastic jerk, there’s the ‘Cosmic Con’ that the Collector is attending that is a funny one panel send up of cons, there’s even Spider-Man sleeping in front of a candle lit shrine to Howard when Howard gets back (complete with a picture of Howard looking pensive) but the back-up story is the best. There’s a pretty obscure David Bowie reference (Howard’s advert says that he can be a hero, even if it’s just for one day), an inept lawyer that tries to hint he’s Spider-Man (because, as they point out, it worked so well for Matt Murdock) but what got a pretty good laugh from me was Howard’s phone number which is 555-DUK-DICK. That’s just good old fashioned stupid humor right there. I enjoyed this second issue quite a bit and I’m still ready and raring for the next one.