If there is any pair of humans qualified to continue the legacy of Howard the Duck cultivated by the insane Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik: it’s Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones. Anyone curious as to why need only know that Zdarsky draws a comic entitled Sex Criminals and see Quinones’ excellent rendition of the titular hero. The leading quackshow is no stranger to debauchery, and openly welcomes a life of rancid sin if the George Lucas produced 80s film is any indication of the current status of the character.
This first issue is built mostly off of the interactions of other people in the Marvel Universe and Howard. This gives readers a gateway into the absurdist nature of this title.
The conflict starts with a burst of intergalactic lunacy laced with some endearing speech patterns from our frontman. It’s a problem that pays off a certain plot thread from an incredibly successful film later on in the issue. This moment also serves to widen the scope of this tale considerably.
This leads into a conversation with She-Hulk that is both inappropriate and hilarious. If the protagonist of this series was any other species, he would likely get slapped across the face. This comic also bears something important in She-Hulk land – it could possibly serve as the spiritual successor to the female jade giant’s cancelled title bearing a high amount of the supporting cast from the comic.
The author takes an opportunity to expand the supporting cast and world of the Duck with some added characters. To flesh out these characters and concepts further, there is an ample process of exploration within the medium. A big piece of this is owed to collaborator Joe Quinones, who perfectly plays off of the energy and concepts utilized within the story.
Spider-Man is also captured with a voice that suits the hero. Peter Parker is extra whimsical here, but who wouldn’t be in the case of talking to a certain duck. This leads to the danger that could be involved in the sheer silliness of this story, could the novelty of Howard’s species fade?
With the incredible facial expressions and bombastic work from Quinones, readers of this title are in good hands. There’s a lot here asked of the illustrator, who’s tasked with bringing, comedy, space drama, and a female jade giant to the absurdist comedy genre. With so many different Marvel characters populating this short tale, the toss-up of random Marvel heroes brings an endearing element to the story.
Quinones and Zdarsky even manages to touch on some influence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Howard the Duck #1 is a Marvel comic that peppers just the right layers of comedy on top of an engrossing lead character to forge a new incarnation of the hero. Long live Howard the Duck, and long live Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones’ tenure on the adventures of the world’s most irreverent quack show.