After a jaunt in space with Rocket Raccoon and the Guardians Of The Galaxy, Howard returns to the World He Never Made. But, is it going to be any less infuriating for him now?
My advice is not to bet your rent. Your Major Spoilers review of Howard The Duck #3 awaits!
Previously in Howard The Duck: “When last we saw Howard, he had taken a case to return a stolen necklace to a mysterious client named Mr. Richards, but right after he discovered it, Howard got trapped in the worst kind of prison: SPACE PRISON. What makes Space Prison so much worse than Earth Prison, you ask? Well, not much actually (Prison is prison!), but he was trapped in there with a talking racoon named Rocket Raccoon… Thankfully, Rocket’s teammates, The Guardians Of The Galaxy, showed up to break Rocket (and Howard, I guess) out of Space Prison, allowing Howard to return to Earth with the necklace! With his luck finally turning around, Howard was then…
…mugged by Spider-Man’s Aunt May?”
Something strange is happening in Denmark this issue, as May Parker holds up Howard at gunpoint, then escapes with the Maguffin that brought him into this mess in the first place. I have to say, when I heard they were bringing back HtD, I was worried that no one could reach the strangely existential and absurd original by Steve Gerber, but Zdardsky and company are doing a good job of proving me wrong. When May returns (after Howard goes undercover at a duck pond, and eats a LOT of bread), they team up to find the culprit behind her strange behavior, ultimately trailing another geriatric mugger back to his lair (the “Three Hours Later” caption box got an audible laugh from me) and finding…
Howard’s old enemy, the Ringmaster! Things quickly get out of hand, with Howard, May and Howard’s new gal pal Tara forced to fight a room full of hypnotized members of the Greatest Generation in the hopes of getting back the mysterious necklace.
AN OLD FOE RETURNS
The mysterious Mr. Richards also reveals his true name (with a caption box that reads “To Wikipedia with you!” Heh…), giving our first story a cliffhanger ending. the second story involved Howard being hired by a professional Wolverine impersonator to find out what has happened to the real Wolverine, in the hopes of saving his career. It’s pretty wicked stuff, especially when he reminds a pair of Cap and Thor imitators that they can easily become other heroes, thanks to being tall, caucasian and handsome, and ends with an almost audible sad trombone for Howard and his client. Zdarsky’s scripting is strong (and bizarre), with a heavy emphasis on Howard’s superhuman ability to lie to others and himself, and is full of lovely side moments (such as when we discover that Spider-Man is in Howard’s phone contacts as “SpiderMandrewGarfield.”) The art on both stories is bizarre, but likeable, with Quinones having a ball with May Parker and Tara’s tattoos, while LaTour shows us a darker side of celebrity lookalikes…
THE BOTTOM LINE: WILD, WEIRD STUFF
One warning: This is a very self-aware and meta comic book, and a lot of the humor comes at the expense of the title character and the ridiculous edges of the tapestry that is Marvel Comics, but it works for me. First of all, Howard has a long history of such pointed mockery, and second, it’s all done with an obvious love for such silly ephemera, as seen in the choice of the THREE obscure super-villains who appear in these pages. Howard The Duck #3 may not be Gerber, but it is at least worthy to succeed the master, giving a slightly more modern but no less exasperated Howard, with good art and an abundance of fun references, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. I almost don’t miss Beverly…[taq_review][signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-cog”][/signoff]