Archive for Howard the Duck

Lounge Lizard


Spidey #3

Poor Peter Parker has money troubles — and even worse, Aunt May does, too. But can he do anything to help when all his free time is taken up by school, being bullied, and fighting supervillains? And speaking of supervillains, the Lizard is back, and he’s growing a ton of mini-lizards in an attempt to take over the world. So where does Spidey have to go to track down the Lizard’s lab? The sewer, of course. And who does he run into down there? Even more mini-lizards and one great big angry Lizard. Can Spider-Man make it back to the surface alive?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Beautiful art and a fantastic, classic story. This comic is just wonderful, and it’s weird that it doesn’t get a lot more attention.


Howard the Duck #4

So Howard — now the Living Nexus of All Realities — has been captured by a cosmic baddie called the Stranger, but he’s quickly rescued by a woman named Scout, who is the new Herald of Galactus. But actually, she isn’t — she’s just a human who mugged Alicia Masters for a bit of the Silver Surfer’s metal so she could get cosmic powers. In fact, she’s a Galactus fangirl, and the Big G doesn’t think much of her. But the Silver Surfer rescues Howard, briefly, and even gifts him with enough of the Power Cosmic to turn him all silvery and nakedy. He and the Guardians of the Galaxy rescue each other — and then it’s right back into the clutches of the Collector.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s entirely fun, and it’s great to see Howard with some real power for once, even though we can expect it to last maybe two pages in the next issue…


A-Force #2

The giant monster called Anti-Matter wants to destroy Singularity — and anyone else he can, too. He gets Medusa good and angry, and she uses Inhuman technology to teleport him to the moon. Singularity then teleports Medusa and She-Hulk to Japan, where Nico Minoru is trying to live a normal life. Of course, Anti-Matter returns, and Nico manages to “un-make” him — but this is still a temporary solution, because he will re-form. They all meet up with Captain Marvel, then go looking for Dazzler, hoping she can hit Anti-Matter with more light than he can process, giving them the opportunity to study him quickly and learn what his weaknesses are. They find Dazzler playing roller derby, and she’s a lot more punk-rock and a lot angrier than she used to be. But can she help fight off the monster?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This issue is a lot more fun than the first. There’s a lot more action, much more fun dialogue, and cooler characterization. It’s also great to finally see Nico and Dazzler again. (Do you think there’s a database in the Marvel offices to keep track of all the magic words Nico uses, since she can use each one only once?)

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You’ve Got Mail


The Vision #2

Last issue, the Grim Reaper attacked the Vision’s robotic family, severely injuring Viv before Virginia beat the villain to death. She’s decided to keep the Reaper’s death a secret from her husband. She tells the Vision a story about driving him away. Meanwhile, Viv is on mechanical life support, and her twin brother Vin is not adapting well to the near-death of his sister. He attacks a rude classmate and almost kills him — and when the Vision is called to the school to talk to the principal, he uses his status as a superhero to cow the principal into not punishing his son. But things are not all okay for the Vision family. Someone knows what Virginia did, and they’re going to make her pay.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This comic is so very creepy. It’s so creepy and inhuman, I want to take every issue, lock it in a metal box, lock that box in another metal box, bury it in the backyard, and set the backyard on fire. And then, because I really, really love creepy comics, I want to then dig up the backyard, take the comic out of the box… and lick it.


Howard the Duck #2

In our last issue, Howard was rescued by a couple of gender-switched clones of himself and Rocket Raccoon. In this issue, we get their backstory. After Howard and Rocket escaped from the Collector during the first series, the girls — Linda and Shocket — were cloned from their DNA, and one of the Collector’s minions, Dee, was assigned to be their foster parent. When it’s decided that the girls are going to be frozen — or maybe even killed — Dee flees with them, and they rent a time machine to send them 25 years into the past so the Collector’s henchmen won’t pursue them. But Dee is eventually killed, leaving the girls on their own — and the Collector back on their trail.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It looks like Linda and Shocket are about to be very important characters — hence the origin story. It’ll be interesting to see what Zdarsky and Fish have planned…


All-New All-Different Avengers #2

A Chitauri calling himself Warbringer has just effortlessly kicked Iron Man’s, Captain America’s, and Spider-Man’s butts, but the Vision shows up to assist. Meanwhile, Nova flies into town to confront Warbringer, only to find that Ms. Marvel is already on the scene. Nova and Ms. Marvel don’t really get along. Warbringer gets away from them, too, but they team up with Spidey, Iron Man, Cap, and Vision to confront Warbringer one more time. It looks like it’s all over for the alien after Thor makes an appearance — but Warbringer has an unseen ally on his side…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Got the whole team together in just two issues — that’s a record for new team comics these days! Good story, good art, excellent team conflicts getting set up — all around, a lot of fun.


Revival #35

Jesse Black Deer, the terribly burned reviver, has been ordered to kill Em Cypress — and in fact, he attacks her and tears out her heart. But that can’t kill a reviver, and her heart grows back. But by then, he’s got her trussed up and is about to cut her head off — he’s going to bury her head and body separately to keep her alive but helpless. But Em’s sister Dana lures Jesse’s soul to him, and Jesse burns down to ash. But one of the guards is in on the scheme, and he’s going to behead Em — at least until Dana shoots his jaw off. But now the sisters are forced to go on the run to flee the authorities.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Looks like the end of a storyarc, and it’s a pretty good one, too. Definitely upsets the old status quo — and it’ll be fun to see where the story goes from here.

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Duck Amuck


Howard the Duck #1

Yet another new #1 issue of a series that debuted less than a year ago. Get a grip on yourself, Marvel.

Howard is back in the detective biz, with his shapeshifting friend Tara Tam, with Aunt May Parker as his office manager. But he’s got a bad case of existential blues, and he’s decided he’d like to return to his home — his original home, the world full of ducks. Dr. Strange reveals that the previously discovered Abundant Glove has the power to transport him back to his home. So Howard takes Tara on a trip to the Florida swamps, looking for the Nexus of All Realities. Unfortunately, it’s not being guarded by the Man-Thing, which has given the Wizard and Titania the opportunity to turn it into a weapon. Can Howard and Tara stop a couple of supervillains all by themselves? And what happens when Howard passes through the Nexus? On top of that, we get a short segment at the end introducing a character called Gwenpool. She’s like a cross between Deadpool and some other recently popular character…

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s very much like the Howard the Duck of the previous series — funny and clever and sarcastic. There are lots of fun details to enjoy here, from Tara’s shapeshifted hat to the glimpse we get of alternate realities inside the Nexus. I really don’t know what to think of Gwenpool. Let’s hope the character doesn’t end up being terrible.


Harley Quinn and Power Girl #5

Our heroes have defeated the evil Oreth Odeox — but not before he summoned the fantastically immense Harvester of Sorrow! He’s a giant floating head who specializes in creating sorrow and hate everywhere he goes and then sucking away all the psychic energies left behind — and he’s far too powerful for anyone to stop. Harley manages to get inside his massive brain, planning on blowing it up, but she gets captured instead, and the Harvester prepares to drain her brain dry of all negative emotions. Unfortunately, accessing her memories of the Joker ends up infecting the Harvester with a virus and transforms the entire head into a giant Joker — which is probably worse than the regular Harvester of Sorrow. And Harley’s now gone full-on crazy. Can anyone survive? Even more importantly, can Vartox’s mustache survive?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a whole lot of crazy, and a decent amount of low-class funny. Always a nice bonus to go along with the action.

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They’re Coming to Get You


Harrow County #4

Emmy is on the run from everyone she knows — they all believe she’s a reincarnated witch who’ll destroy them all. But in fact, she is the reincarnated witch, and she made other enemies in her old life who are a lot more dangerous, including one absolutely gigantic demon who blames her for dying and leaving him alone in the wilderness. Soon, she meets up with Mr. Straightaway, the town pharmacist, who promises to help her, but actually just chloroforms her and ties her up. He reveals a lot of her old self’s story — rejected by the townspeople, she created people from mud who could go into the town and tell everyone she was worth keeping around. But they eventually turned on her and destroyed her. Is Emmy like the old witch she used to be? Or is she willing to be something different?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderful, dark, creepy, atmospheric storytelling and art. And listen, you’re reading the columns at the end of the comics, right? Because those are some of the creepiest parts of the magazine. This issue is no different, as writer Cullen Bunn tells us about the man who lived under his house when he was a boy.


All Star Section Eight #3

The Martian Manhunter has, shockingly, agreed to join Section Eight, promising to lead them to the heroic glory which is their birthright. Meanwhile, Bueno Excellente’s knightly rival for Guts’ love is finally revealed: Sir Percival Orifice, Tape of the Wyrm! Should we review who these people are? Bueno Excellente, who defeats evil with the power of perversion? Guts, a lady who is literally a bunch of internal organs? Sir Percival Orifice, a gigantic talking tapeworm? With a mustache? Who has actually been living inside Guts all this time? And what will be J’onn J’onzz’s reaction when he stumbles upon the epic duel?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Any comic that features an off-panel sex-battle between an obese pervert wearing a thong and a giant talking tapeworm with a mustache — and which includes sound effects like “Penetrate,” “Cup,” and “Inappropriately Touch” — has got to be one for the record books.


Howard the Duck #5

All the superheroes are gonna try to put the smackdown on the awesomely powerful Talos the Untamed, a loser Skrull who managed to get his hands on a moderately powerful gauntlet-type weapon called the Abundant Glove. Howard and his new friend Tara Tam beat feet, since they’re unpowered and not equipped to deal with world-ending battles — or are they? Howard has already deduced that Tara is hiding a secret, and Tara reveals that, like the fabled Skrull Kill Krew of olden times, she gained shapeshifting powers by eating a Skrull that had been shapeshifted into — to Howard’s horror — a duck! Can a shapeshifting tattoo artist and an agitated anthropomorphic duck save the day?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A clever and funny story. Nice to see the Skrull Kill Crew return, or at least get mentioned again. And it was also cool watching elements from the cover crop up throughout the rest of the issue. Unfortunately, this is another book that’s been temporarily cancelled — it’ll be back in a couple of months.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • I’m of mixed feelings on this. Yes, the earlier days of “Peanuts” were stronger, and the over-reliance on Snoopy was probably part of why the strip declined. But even in its final days, it was still better than most other strips on the comics pages, and I loved it heart and soul clear to its end.
  • The deal that gave first-run rights for Sesame Street to HBO was probably a good deal for everyone — Sesame Street got saved and PBS viewers won’t really miss out on anything.
  • Marvel’s upcoming “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” looks amazing.
  • I’m fairly jazzed about the return of Blackalicious, one of my favorite hip hop groups.

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Drum Monkey


Astro City #24

We met Sticks last issue. He’s an intelligent gorilla from a secret city of fightin’ gorillas, but all Sticks wants to do is hang around Astro City and play drums. But supervillains keep trying to turn him into their lackey, and in an attempt to get away from that, he decides to join a superteam called Reflex-6. He’s an effective crimefighter — but superheroing just isn’t in his blood, so he quits to go back to full-time drumming. But then he and his bandmates are attacked by more supervillains — and he can’t bring himself to let them be harmed, too. Is there a solution to his problem?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s not a perfect issue — we get way too many side-characters, many of whom are of minimal importance, and I don’t entirely buy the superhero band — and Sticks’ later alter-ego as Tuxedo Gorilla is really just way too silly. But aside from that, the character work is excellent, the art is wonderful, and while I’m not a big fan of Reflex-6 or Powerchord, I really want to see more stories where superheroes fight monster supervillains like the Screampunks and an evil snow globe called… Snowglobe.


Daredevil #16

Everyone thinks Matt is a bad guy — and even worse, they think all of his associates are crooks, too, thanks to the machinations of the Shroud. So he has to go make a deal with the one person he really, really doesn’t want to make a deal with — Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin. Why should the Kingpin help the Daredevil? Matt is offering him the death of Matt Murdock — he’s willing to let the Kingpin stage Murdock’s death, convincing everyone he knows that he’s truly and finally dead, to give him extensive plastic surgery so he’ll look nothing like he used to, to give him a new name — Daredevil will still be operating, but Matt Murdock will be no more. While Kingpin considers the offer, Matt gets a tip that Julia Carpenter, once the second Spider-Woman and the ex-girlfriend of the Shroud, is coming into San Francisco, so he heads for the airport to intercept her. But the Shroud and the Owl’s daughter get there first. And the Kingpin has another plot — and another minion — in reserve.

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, fantastic art and writing — and cliffhanger after cliffhanger after cliffhanger. A particularly fine moment, by the way, is the moment when we finally get the see the chilling paintings in Fisk’s gallery — artwork which Matt is unable to see…


Howard the Duck #4

Well, Howard managed to get the mysterious necklace for the mysterious Mr. Richards, only to find out that Mr. Richards was actually Talos the Untamed! A Skrull who can’t shapeshift but is still somehow a supervillain! But Howard still wants his money, honey, so he and Tara Tam pay a visit to Dr. Strange to see if he can magically track the necklace. It turns out the necklace contains a gem — not one of the Infinity Gems, but from a set that’s a good deal weaker. Still, if you assemble them all in one place, you could potentially destroy the world with them. So Howard, Strange, and Tara recruit Johnny Storm to help — but can they beat Talos to the prize?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Thoroughly excellent writing, art, and humor. Loved the bits with Strange’s contest against the demon Thog, the details of the (fingerless) Abundant Glove, and Johnny Storm’s utterly noxious pick-up lines.

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Quacked Skull


Howard the Duck #3

Howard just barely made it back to Earth with the doohickey he was hired to steal from the Black Cat — and he immediately gets robbed and pistol-whipped — by Aunt May?! And the flipped-out dude who hired him is seriously ticked-off at the delays in getting his necklace back! He and Tara set out to track down Aunt May — Howard’s style of investigation involves running around a duck pond naked so the old folks feeding the waterfowl will think he’s a regular duck. When they find Aunt May, she remembers nothing about robbing them but agrees to help them investigate. After trailing an old coot who stole someone’s purse, they discover who is the ringmaster of scheme. Can they defeat him? And can they defeat the villain who’s playing them all for suckers?

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, a very silly story. Howard crawling around the pond without any clothes is dang hilarious, and the running gag of Spider-Man thinking he’s failed to save someone and then breaking down into an emotional basket case is still funny.


Captain Marvel #15

Carol has returned home to Earth only to learn that her longtime friend and mentor Tracy Burke died just a week ago of cancer. The rest of the issue focuses on Tracy’s will and Carol’s reflection on her life, her relationship with her partner Teddy, and her posthumous attempt to get Carol to move on with her life.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A wonderfully illustrated, wonderfully written study on death and mourning. The post-story note focusing on writer Kelly Sue DeConnick’s memories of her own late Aunt Polly just boosts the coolness of this issue.

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Ducks and Rats and Hawks, Oh My!


Howard the Duck #2

Howard has been ducknapped by the Collector and stuck into his interstellar zoo — just like in his cameo from “Guardians of the Galaxy!” And sure enough, there’s Rocket Raccoon, who’s also in the hoosegow with Howard. But it’s all a cunning ruse — Rocket has a way to take over the computers, so he shuts down the forcefield around the prison planet, and the Guardians help Howard escape. But they have to leave all the other prisoners — all guilty of nothing more than being the last members of their races — stuck in the Collector’s zoo, and that doesn’t sit well with Howard, even after he makes it back to Earth.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of excellent and surreal jokes. A nice bit of characterization — Howard actually has a sense of justice, but he’s still just a talking duck, so he’s frustrated that he can’t do more to help others. And a wonderfully bizarre cliffhanger, too. And really, it’s worth a thumbs up just for the amazing duckface cover.


Rat Queens #10

The Rat Queens and their mercenary allies continue their struggle against Gerrig, his soldiers, and the gods he’s wielding against the city. Skulls are cleaved, smooches are delivered, magic is zapped, and secrets are revealed. Can the Queens defeat ultimate evil?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a great action sequence almost from beginning to end, with plenty of great character moments wrapped around the whole thing. I do wish we’d gotten some kind of excellent moment for Betty, the drug-abusing halfling — she’s the only main character who doesn’t get any focus this issue.


All-New Hawkeye #2

This issue is again split between a couple different stories. We follow Clint and Barney Barton as children as they begin their new lives with the traveling circus. And in the present, Kate Bishop and Clint Barton rescue some kids — grotesque science-experiment super-psychic kids — from A.I.M.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The big winner here really is the art, which goes from gauzy, soft-focus, pastoral memories in the past to more traditional superhero penciling in the present. It’s impressive and beautiful work.

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Duck and Cover


Howard the Duck #1

It’s been a while since we had a high-profile ongoing comic starring Howard the Duck, and we can pretty much credit it all to that one post-credits scene from “Guardians of the Galaxy.” This one is written by Chip Zdarsky and illustrated by Joe Quinones.

So we’ve got Howard, now trying to make a living as a private detective — and getting thrown into jail now and then for being unable to control his temper. He meets a new friend there, a girl named Tara Tam, a tattoo artist, and once he gets released from the slammer, he quickly gets a new client, a suspiciously wrapped-up schlub who’s looking for a necklace stolen by the Black Cat.

He heads out to pester Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk, in her legal practice, hoping to get a moment alone with her rolodex so he can yoink Spider-Man’s contact info. Spidey is less than helpful, but as it turns out, Tara knows exactly where she lives. So after a terribly thought-out plan, they break into her place — alerting her, her goons, and the cops — and steal the necklace. And then an oversized space mook kidnaps Howard for the Collector’s space zoo. Hey, do I smell a Guardians team-up?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I wasn’t really expecting much from this one, so I was pleasantly surprised by how good the story was and how consistently funny it was all the way through the issue. It’s great to see She-Hulk and her supporting cast from her just-cancelled comic, and it’s cool to think that we may get to see more of them in this comic. Wonderful dialogue, excellent humor — some slapstick, some punning, some surreality. I approve of this comic, and I hope we get to keep enjoying it for a while.


Captain Marvel #13

Well, Cap has gotten herself stranded in a quasi-multi-dimensional subspace pocket, and it’ll take her weeks to steer her way out, all while her cat and her friend Tic are threatened by interstellar slavers. So she has to steer her ship through some deeply unscientific hyperspeed gel to accellerate herself to safety. Can she make it out without blasting her ship to pieces? Can she save her friends in time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely whacked-out space opera, complete with unlikely physics, improbable piloting and laser-shootin’, aliens galore, and witty banter with a computer. As always, lots of fun.


Silver Surfer #10

Galactus is ready to devour the planet of Newhaven, and the Silver Surfer has been depowered and left to die in space. But wait — he was just playing possum all along! But his attacks still aren’t doing enough to harm Galactus — until the citizens of Newhaven hear how Norrin agreed to become the World-Devourer’s herald in exchange for sparing his own world — and they all volunteer for the same duty! But Galactus is uninterested — he’s already destroyed their own worlds, so he doesn’t care. But he’s never destroyed Earth, and when Dawn Greenwood volunteers, he takes her up on the offer. But the transformation is agonizing, and the Surfer can’t save her. Will anyone else make the supreme sacrifice for Dawn?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a fantastically epic story, with every character in the story, including every person on the planet, willing to sacrifice anything to stop Galactus. Mike Allred’s art is epic, Dan Slott’s writing is epic, pretty much everything in the comic is epic!

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Cheese and Quackers

The Amazing Spider-Man: Back in Quack

Yay! Howard the Duck!

Spider-Man runs across Mayor J. Jonah Jameson holding a press conference to promote some group called S.O.O.Ph.I., which is a very obvious evil brainwashing organization that makes all its members wear oversized smiley-face masks. And they’ve kidnapped and brainwashed Howard the Duck and his kinda-sorta-maybe girlfriend Beverly Switzer! Can Spidey break them free of the mind control? And can he use reverse psychology to stop S.O.O.Ph.I.?

Verdict: Thumbs up. What I love about this is writer Stuart Moore is almost channeling Howard’s creator, Steve Gerber, with this goofy, byzantine, gonzo plot. It’s a fun story with a lot of personality.

Avengers Academy #5

Our focus is on Striker, the electrically-powered glory how. His mom was a fame hound and has done everything she can to train him to believe that he’s nothing if he’s not famous. After he gets his powers, he falls into Norman Osborn’s clutches — but unlike his classmates, he gets coddled by Osborn. In the present day, while the Academy members are on a night on the town with Hank Pym, they all get attacked by Whirlwind. Can they stop the supervillain? And can Striker use all this to get himself some much-needed attention?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good story, excellent characterization, fairly good artwork.

Chaos War #1

The Japanese god of chaos and darkness, Amatsu-Mikaboshi, now calling himself the Chaos King, has already killed plenty of gods on Earth and on alien worlds, but now he’s decided to wipe out all reality so he can be the only thing left in existence. He starts out by attacking Nightmare and tearing him to pieces. Meanwhile, Hercules returns to life and returns to Earth, with enough new power to make him the most powerful being on the planet — and that’s a bit more power than even he can handle, so Amadeus Cho shows up (just before the Avengers start pounding on him) and talks Herc down. After that, uses his new power to summon all of Marvel’s heroes to Central Park, rallies them, despite their doubts about Herc’s stability, to join the fight against the Chaos King, grants them all a fraction of his power so they can follow him, and leads them into Nightmare’s realm. But is the Chaos King stronger than all of them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Greg Pak and Fred van Lente writing Hercules is guaranteed gold, every time.

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Friday Night Fights: All Quacked Up!

Listen here, people, we had to take a week off from our usual Friday Festival of Fisticuffs, but we’re getting right back into it now. Ready or not, it’s time for… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

We’re pulling tonight’s battle from May 1976’s Howard the Duck #3 by Steve Gerber, John Buscema, and Steve Leialoha, as our much-maligned mallard — fresh from being declared a Master of Quack Fu — mops the floor with a bunch of belligerent mooks:

Everyone have a great weekend — we’ll see you back here on Monday…

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