Saturday, December 10, 2016

CBR Howard the Duck Vol. 0: What the Duck

A series about a cartoon duck trapped in a world he never made is my current favorite Marvel Comics. Who would have guessed that?!

Thanks to a cameo in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, Howard the Duck is back! Waugh!

Hooked on a Feeling for more Guardians of the Galaxy reviews:

Comic title: Howard the Duck (2015) Vol. 0: What the Duck 
Written by CHIRP Zdarsky
Drawn by Joe QUACKnones & others

Published by Marvel QUACKmics 
From WAUGHtober 2015
Lineup Howard the Duck series/Marvel's cosmic side
Format: Trade paperDUCK softcover collecting Howard the Duck Vol. 5 issues #1–5.

First there was Donald Duck. Then came Daffy Duck. And finally we got Howard the duck.

Howard the Duck was originally a comic book character created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik in the pages of Marvel Comics. Howard first appeared in Adventure into Fear #19 (from December 1973) as a secondary character in that comic's Man-Thing feature and then returned as a backup feature in Giant-Size Man-Thing #4–5. The story followed the misadventures of a cartoon duck trapped on our Earth (or at the very least, Marvel's version of Earth). These comics began at first as parody of horror comics before moving to mocking anything from other comics to cartoon physics, making a lot of references to other titles and pop culture. The tone was definitively satirical, parodying all sorts of genres. Howard was very meta and self-aware of being in a comic book.
Howard's own ongoing series didn't last long, but it became a cult classic . Over the years Marvel attempted several times to bring back to the Marvel Universe, most times with Steve Gerber still taking care of his creation. From various crossovers with other heroes such as She-Hulk and Spider-Man to a couple of mini-series including one through the Marvel MAX imprint for mature reader.

Thanks to the immense success of the MCU films' first cosmic foray, James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, a little silly post-credits cameo prompted Marvel to relaunch a new ongoing Howard the Duck series. For the first time cared by a new creative team, writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Joe Quinones.

Howard the Duck is back! The Marvel Universe's best and only talking duck private investigator is back to take on the silliest cases in New York City!

Our All-New series opens with Howard just being released from jail. Long story. A recurring element from several issues of this new series actually...

Howard meets this cool punk girl named Tara Tam. Howard is now a private eye, working next door of She-Hulk, in Brooklyn. His first new case sees a client hiring him to retrieve some weird necklace the Black Cat's just stolen. Sounds fun! Tara decides to tag along and unofficially becomes his assistant/sidekick/partner.

As they were just about to give it back to their mysterious client, Howard is captured by the infamous cosmic being known as The Collector! It's back to jail for Howard! Howard now finds himself in the same cell as the Guardians of the Galaxy's own anthropomorphic Rocket Raccoon. The two are able to escape from The Collector's prized collection after trying free other captives...

Upon returning to Earth, Howard finds senior citizen on a criminal spree. All because of the Ringmaster who has been hypnotizing old people into robbing for him! Spider-Man's own Aunt May steals the necklace back from Howard!

This being named Talos the Untamed reveals to Howard the necklace is actually part of a "marginally powerful" item known as the Abundant Glove! You read that right. Not Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet, but Talos' Abundant Glove!

Howard visits Doctor Strange and is able to locate the last remaining gem of the Abundant Glove. Talos grabs it and tries taking over the city.. when a big epic super-hero brawl breaks up! Super-heroes flying left and right everywhere! Exactly the kind of crazy Howard had been trying to avoid...

Howard learns the truth about Tara's real nature - she possesses shapeshifting abilities because of the Skrulls!

It's all solved peacefully thanks to our heroes' ruse!

Announced in November 2014, the series was finally launched on March 2015.

Howard's done a lot of "regular" jobs over the years, and plain "private investigator" really suits him. He would just be happy taking on small weird cases and being left alone, but he always ends up in these crazy adventures against his wishes! on Earth.

Chip Zdarsky does a great job taking over the character and expanding upon his further adventures.

The book has a great tone. There's some great humor, namely around Howard's nature. He's a talking duck detective! And that's not the weirdest, in a world full of colorful random super-powered people!

After so many years stuck on planet Earth, Howard has grown accustomed to a world he never made and is now trying to peacefully set up shop as a detective. It's not going that well so far.

A lot revolves around gently making fun of the nature of comic books.

Spidey himself is quite often mocked. There's an hilarious ongoing playful rivalry between Howard and Spider-Man! (Poor Peter Parker...)

We even get a lot of clever nods and tie-ins! A fun mention allusion and use of Howard's infamous Quack-Fu! And the last issue even ties into Secret Wars! Not the recent one, but the original Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars (from 1984), and it's even, kinda, sorta, a Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars tie-in!

The art of Joe Quinones is absolutely gorgeous on this book! It really, really suits Howard's tone! It's kind of realistic, in a simplistic cartoony kind of way, but Howard's really the only odd figure in there. Everything's a lot more real and grounded. Even the flying people with capes and tights.

Howard never had any super-powers. He's just a regular guy duck who happens to be trapped in a mad world! Sure, he does some martial arts (his "Quack-Fu"), but nothing that would help him defeat super villains, for example.

Despite being an anthropomorphic duck that talks, he's basically an Average Joe that just wants to be left alone. Sadly life on this hairless apes' planet puts him in constant dangerous, surrounded by weird super-people, like a constant magnet attracting trouble wherever he goes...

He often acts like a jerk and he's quite irritable, but he's a normal decent duck!

Starting with issue 3 the comics have secondary backup features separated from the main ongoing storyline. The first one illustrated by Rob Guillory sees Howard having a dispute regarding the "Heroes for Hire" name with Luke Cage and Iron Fist! After that Howard has a job with super-heroes impersonators in a story drawn by Jason Latour. And finally Katie Cook & Heather Breckel confront Howard with some nuts taking Alice in Wonderland too far in Central Park...

Finally the book also contains all sorts of gorgeous covers collected at the end of the trade, featuring the talents of Erica Henderson, Val Mayerick, Chris Sotomayor, Paul Pope, Ryan Meinerding, Skottie Young, Chris Samnee, Howard Chaykin, Ed McGuiness and many others!


Overall, this is a great relaunch of one of my all-time favorite Marvel Comics characters!

This one comes Highly Recommended! It's so much fun! A great tribute to the character and a fantastic new direction for a cult classic character I never thought we'd ever see again!

Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones are a great duo. They seem to be doing just fine guiding Howard in new adventures and clearly having a lot of fun with the character!

It's hilarious! Fast-paced! Colorful! And just crazy enough. The Marvel Universe is just prsented goofy enough to be taken seriously while barely making any sense!

I really love Howard and Tara's interactions, both play great off each other. They even made Aunt May hilarious!


I give it:
3 / 3 Howards!

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