The record will show that I love Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones version of Howard the Duck pretty clearly. In fact, as I have stated before, if you asked me 4 years ago what my current favourite comics would’ve been, I think we can all agree that Howard The Duck wouldn’t of been in the top 30 at all, and yet here we are. So should you by the latest Howard the Duck trade? The answer, unsurprisingly is yes, yes you should. It’s funny, it’s sad and it’s amazing and generally speaking, the best thing we could’ve asked for. Here is why you should read Howard the Duck.
The story is emotionally hard hitting: The book starts off with an interesting idea, that being a talking Duck in the Marvel universe kind of sucks. People think he is an Alien and don’t treat him with respect. So Howard just wants to go home, which is fairly common with his book, but really that’s the entire theme of this book. Which ties in with the main plot of the book which is Howard gets the Living Nexus grafted to his body. All Howard wants to do is to leave this universe and go back home so he travels to Florida and tries to use the Nexus which unknowlingly gets grafted to his body.
Living Nexus, for those who don’t know is a portal basically that can take a person where ever they want to go. This makes him the most wanted Duck in the universe, with various Alien races, The Kree etc all coming after poor Howard. But even when he gets a chance to slip away, he knows that he can’t, as he has bonded with the Nexus, it is still apart of him and thus he will never have a quiet life again.
So with this serious matter the question remands is it a funny book? The answer to that is yes it is. Yeah humour is subjective but the book is really funny, or as funny as a book about a 4 foot tall talking duck can be. I won’t post any of the jokes, as to not ruin them, but just trust me on this. Chip manages to weave humour and heart throughout the story, with out getting too bogged in either camp. Chip Zdarksy’s wonderfully managed to walk the fine line either camp which can be difficult to pull off, as too many jokes undercuts the seriousness of the story and too few jokes makes for a rather dull read. In fact if you don’t get even a little choked up reading issue 2, then you most be a robot, or a future person who has stumbled upon this blog who has hd their empathy bred out of them and i am sorry that has happened to.
At the end of the day, it’s a book with a lot of heart and warmth. What could’ve been a crass money making ploy by Marvel has turned into one of the most heartfelt books on the stands. How can you not love Howard, his life is a mess, and yet he just keeps going on. We all have a little bit of Howard in us. Yeah he’s an annoying Duck, but that’s the point. How can you not when you’re the only talking duck around with no powers in a world where there Norse Gods and living WMDs. He shows us that even the littlest person (or duck) can still off and make a difference. He doesn’t want to help, but he knows he has to.
Howard the book, volume 1, not to be confused with volume 0 gets a hearty recommendation from me. It’s a brilliant book made even better thanks to the great crossover with Squirrel Girl.