Published on April 9th, 2015 | by Noel Thorne7
Howard The Duck #2 Review
Yeesh, one hit movie and the Guardians of the Galaxy have suddenly gotta be in every single Marvel comic reminding everyone they’re a Big Deal and there’s a sequel on the way! Then again I suppose Howard was in their after-credits scene so this is a callback of sorts…
As you can tell from the selfie/kissy face cover (are people still doing that? Marvel is anyway), the Guardians take over Howard the Duck for an issue, which is fine as Howard by himself is kind of a non-starter. That said, the “Guardians busting out of prison” schtick has been done to death at this point so the comic is a bit too repetitive plot-wise.
Despite the generic story and, at times, unfunny humour (a lot of Howard and Rocket’s banter), Chip Zdarsky can’t help but charm the reader with his silliness. After an average first issue I was ready to chalk this title up to another Marvel book that’s just not for me (like Squirrel Girl) though once Howard starts in on his bizarre “sexy gun, sexy prisoners” nonsense, I couldn’t help but smile. And when he triumphantly yells “You’re ALL sexy prisoners!!” it’s the funniest thing.
Zdarsky jumping into the narration at odd times is also great. After one caption – “Fifteen hours later” – he writes underneath “I guess. Marvel’s wiki doesn’t really help me with interstellar travel times, so let’s just stick with fifteen.” It’s this wry self-awareness and fourth-wall-breaking wink to the audience that adds to the issue’s charisma.
These small moments are what holds the interest and the plot is just there to hang these tidbits on. Like the cosmic comic-con where aliens everywhere get to cosplay as Marvel characters and barter for rare collectibles!
Also, in the same way that the first issue ended, the second closes with a last-page appearance from a well-known, and surprising, Marvel character. It’s like Zdarsky’s structuring this series for each issue to be its own standalone piece, like a TV show, which seems right for Howard. He’s more of a supporting character who could benefit from a revolving door of episodic partners.
The best part of the issue is an unexpected backup written by Zdarsky and drawn by Rob Guillory, the artist of Image’s Chew. Guillory is a fantastic artist whose unique exaggerated cartoon style is perfectly suited to Zdarsky’s whacky scripts. Joe Quinones’ art is fine but I really would’ve loved to have seen this series drawn from the start by Guillory whose work on this short is exemplary.
The story is a cute sketch between Howard and Luke Cage/Iron Fist over Howard using “Hero for Hire” in a bench ad for his investigator business. Again, the story itself is just ok but I loved the inclusion of Howard’s lawyer pretending to be Spider-Man as a result of Matt Murdock revealing himself as Daredevil – brilliant!
Howard the Duck #2 is a perfectly decent comic: there’s nothing too terrible here, but nothing that amazing either, despite some cool bits. That said, this is a readable comic starring Howard the Duck so I think Zdarsky deserves bonus points for making it all somehow work! Readers who enjoyed the first issue will still find plenty to like here, but I think for most people this is an easy trade-wait rather than a must-read monthly.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Joe Quinones
Colourist: Rico Renzi