Friday, March 13, 2015

Howard the Duck #1

   Nice to see Howard the Duck back in the spotlight again!

   I was a big fan of his original run. Howard was created in the '70s (as a one-off gag) by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik in the pages of a Man-Thing story.

   A resident of a funny-animal dimension, Howard was pulled through the Nexus of all Realities - and almost immediately (seemingly) fell to his death.

   Fan response was loud and favorable, so he was brought back by Gerber and artist Frank Brunner and quickly landed his own incredible popular (and extremely collectible) series. Gene Colan soon took over the art and was the main artist through the rest of the run of the series.

   His stores were an interesting mix of action, social commentary and lots of humor.

   Howard pops up in a new series every now and then, with varying (and usually disappointing) results. Perhaps the character is just too closely connected to Gerber's unique genius to work in other hands.

   After his oh-so-brief appearance in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Howard's due for another shot - and judging by the first issue, this series has a pretty good shot at making it.

   This series finds Howard starting a new career as a detective, growing a new supporting cast and being his usual gruff self. His first case (in this issue) pits him against a well-known criminal - and his plan to recover a stolen item is pretty funny.

   The story is by Chip Zdarsky, who has an excellent grasp of Howard's character, his "voice" and the effect he has on others. The art is by Joe Quinones, and I like it a lot - it manages a great balance between humor and straight super-hero action.

   I'm not completely sold on the series yet - the first issue is all about setting up the framework, so we'll see how it goes from here - but that final page (and the teaser for next issue) certainly are enough to bring me back for more.

Grade: A-



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