WTD Marvel Review & Spoilers: Howard The Duck #1 By Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones & Rico Renzi

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HOWARD the DUCK {2nd Series} #1 Review & Spoilers
untitled (20 pages)
Story by: Chip Zdarsky
Pencils by: Joe Quinones
Colors by: Rico Renzi
Letters by: VC’s Travis Lanham
Covers by: Joe Quinones; Erica Henderson; Val Mayerik & Sotocolors; Ryan Meinerding; Paul Pope & Shay Plummer; Skottie Young; Chip Zdarsky
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

(Editor’s Note: In addition to this new Howard The Duck series, April 2015 will be WTD or What the Duck variant cover month at Marvel.)

TRAPPED IN A WORLD HE’S GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO…HOWARD THE DUCK! That’s the tagline for this book. It should read “Once upon a time, in another reality, a walking, talking, honest-to-goodness duck fell through a portal and found himself on a mudball planet called Earth surrounded by hairless apes.” HE DISPLAYS A REMARKABLE AMOUNT OF COMMON SENSE IN A WORLD GONE MAD! HE’S STILL JUST TRAPPED IN A WORLD HE NEVER MADE. Synopsis complete. That pretty much sums it up in a nutshell.

Let’s get quackin’!!! As Howard narrates another imminent feather-brained folly, the prologue shows an alien on the run from some pursuer. This alien is easily apprehended. The hunter turns on his computer to go to his next target/mission — rendezvous: our home planet. Quelle surprise. *eye roll* Howard continues his rant. Eternally surrounded by idiots, his rage comes quickly and fuels his fire. Despite his bluster and willingness to fly off the handle (natch!), he ends up a caged bird.

Upon turning the page, one sees Howard locked up yet again. He’s never a happy camper. As he is given the green light, a portly female screams relief considering he’s a male duck taking up space with the women. One of his cellmates is also released. Her name is Tara Tam. New cast member/female lead/foil introduced!! Typical of his nature, Howard foams at the mouth and threatens to lawyer-up. The arresting detective finds it intriguing that both Howard and Tara have no prior records despite the numerous get-in-to-jail cards. Tara snarkily states that she moved to the Big Apple to feel the rush of being under constant threat. Howard tells Det. Mike Corson, and the readers, that his record can be retrieved in his home dimension. The detective gets to throw in a dig against Howard regarding his day job.

Just what kind of living does an anthropomorphic anas platyrhynchos have whilst stranded on a world unlike his own? P.I. Duck-dick! I mean, duck detective!! Getting ahead of myself here. Tara tells Howard that she was put in the slammer because she hits bad people. A heroine in the making!! Introductions are made, hands are shook, and Howard points out that his career path is anything but glamorous. As he is about to elaborate, he clams up. Now that is a surprise!!

Tara respects his need for privacy. She has arrived at her destination. She runs/owns a tattoo parlor. She offers to give Howie the first one on the house if ever he desires. As the two part ways, Howard expresses relief at her normal treatment of him, boasts about his attractiveness, and drops his “doll” line. Tara affirms she’s seen much stranger (do tell!) but threatens to de-web his feet (animal cruelty!) if he ever utters that word again. He retorts with “female human”.

All you Jennifer Walters fans, squeal with glee!! Shulkie is in the next panel humming to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” (*snort*) when Howard ruins her happy place by yelling her name. He is mildly miffed that she never bailed him out. She throws back that he clogged her voicemail and that she couldn’t retrieve him, sarcastically, of course. The tirade continues. He was most displeased with experiencing duckphobia (poor thing!), sharing a cell with Large Marge, and a funky smell latching on to his feathers. Jen throws a brick at him as her response. She informs him of a client outside his office.

Howard the Duck and She-Hulk work in the same building?!? How outrageous is that?? After some pathetic banter and an obvious observation of Howard’s appearance, the Duck can’t help but ask how Mr. Jonathan Richards found him. The potential client explains that it was through an ad on the movie screen. The fade-in to Howard’s ad is hi-larious. The case that Howard may tackle is about a stolen precious heirloom. I’m no lawyer but when Howie indicates that the police don’t work on visuals of stolen property, things seem pretty beak. I mean, bleak ;-P The case is a bit cold since it happened four months ago but Mr. Richards easily spotted the thief. Wanna know who? Wait for it. It was….the Cat-Woman!!! QUACK! Copyright infringement!

Black Cat is the only logical suspect/culprit. The victim has sought Howard’s services because he has two things in common with the cat-burglar: 1. She’s weird, like him, and 2. She’s incredibly sexy, also like him. No modesty there. Howard will take the case. You think?? He slips up when he asserts that the man’s bracelet necklace will be retrieved. It’s generous of Howard to help out the man pro bono if he fails. He wants Mr. Richards to leave his contact info with his receptionist. Disturbingly, ‘she’ turns out to be a pile of newspapers and rags with a face coloured on and an actual mop for hair.

The Jade Giantess vs. the Irascible Anatidæ, round two!! Things get heated as Howard waddles in bragging of his new adventure. He is hissed at by Hei Hei, to whom he refers as a “hairy human”. Tipping the evolutionary scale. Angie explains that her monkey doesn’t like him and has no manners. She also dislikes him but exercises etiquette. She-Hulk unconvincingly congratulates him but is eager to dismiss him. He poo-poos Hellcat. How dare he? If he were around, he’d be infallible (or unflappable?) in his partnership. Once again, he drops the D-word (“doll”). Quite the misogynist, eh? This infuriates Shulkie. She takes the high road by going into her office where things are more progressive and less sexist. Howard casually takes an index card from Jen’s Rolodex®. Howard and Hei Hei have a face-off hiss-off. It seems like a stalemate but I put all my money on the monkey ;-P

Who better to consult about the Black Cat than your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man?!? While waiting on a rooftop, Howard is red-lighted by Spidey’s ‘tool’. It’s a rare occasion for the Webhead to use that delightful device. All you Marvel Encyclopedia geeks, fact check this!! Howard texted Spidey via the Avengers number left on the card. This was the better option instead of voicemail. Yeah, if I slung my webs all over NYC, I wouldn’t have much time to check my VM either. Anyhoo, Spidey isn’t all too friendly with Howard. He gives the Duck a stern warning and would rather forget the all-too-known steamy past he had with Felicia. All sorts of kinky going on!! Cats, spiders, ducks. Oh my :0

Howard is in the most fowl mood (there, I said it!). His walkabout brings him back to Tara’s tat shop. Surprisingly, Tara gives him the lead that he so absolutely needs. The Black Cat just happens to live down the street, less than a few blocks away. Danger + excitement + knowledge = instant sidekick!! Tara confirms Felicia’s ID since not many young females are purely platinum-plaited. Felicia is the best burglar in town but doesn’t believe in keeping it on the DL.

I’m glad that the writer or editor was kind enough to specify the musical artist behind the song/video montage on the following page. I was gonna guess without Googling but thankfully got the source. This whole scene reminded me of Rocky. Good thing I decided to research after all. There is no actually group known as The MotiVaders but the montage is an homage to Sly Stallone’s underdog boxer.

The training must have taken the span of the song because Howard and Tara clumsily break into Felicia’s penthouse. Start throwing around the clichés. They stumble in as pizza deliverers. Really? Doffed with chef hats. Oookkkaaayyy (sarcastic tone). Inaccurately, the pizza will distract the cats. Howard’s duck-vision (sure, why not?) spots a worn-out area of the carpet. As he instructs Tara to pull books from the shelves to reveal a secret room, they hit a snag. Felicia has tons of books relating to felines. Mr. Eagle Eye finds the one that doesn’t belong — Charlotte’s Web — and voilà!! All the loot Felicia has gathered is behind the bookcase! The necklace is easily pawed. Tara helps herself to some of those precious jewels when the Cat comes back. She’s incredulous at the fact that a talking pizza duck is robbing her. Yuck yuck yuck!

The face-off falls flat (literally!) when a mini-quake rocks the casbah. Howie thinks it’s the Cat’s bad luck powers turning on her which is fortunate for him. Hasty retreat enacted. More clichés: taking the fire escape towards the roof with the villain in hot pursuit. Tara is on an all-time high. Things go south when that alien hunter from page one is found topside. He is a Gatherer that works for the Collector. Synchronicity!!! Honor is bestowed upon Howard for being an authentic rara avis. Howard’s luck continues as the Cat, who is now in costume, tackles him. One of her lackeys is teleported away. Tara has a mild freak-out while Howard narcissistically worries about his own hide feathers. He’s one-of-a-kind, man!

A few more clichés — yelling for help. Just when all seems lost, Spidey swings into the scene catching an earful of Howard’s plaintive cries. Black Cat humorously wants her stolen goods returned. She is in need of a crash course in criminology. The Gatherer repels her as he closes in on his prize. Tara yells “Duck!” (pun intended!!) Mission accomplished. Spidey arrives too late. He drops to his knees mourning Howard’s ‘demise’ while wailing for Uncle Ben. Somehow I doubt he does this on a regular basis.

Flash forward fifteen hours to an unnamed planet. Howard stews as his cellmate (the captured E.T. from page one) blathers his life story. The Duck flails his arms in the air. This scenario is replayed way too often for him. The azure alien feels hurt by his extended offer of friendship and labels Howard a “Sagiquarius” due to his moodiness. Howard is definitely pissed (in his own words). He doesn’t want to sit around waiting for The Hobbyist (clearly he doesn’t give a duck) to pluck him and use him as a lawn ornament. A voice in the background knocks Howard’s inaction but he has a plan in mind. That voice belongs to Rocket Raccoon!! Animals, unite!

Gratuitous guest-stars! Cornball dialogue!! This book is quack-tastic!!! Chip Zdarsky is perhaps the biggest rising star in current comicdom. The man has chops. He’s ‘graduated’ from illustrating the red-hot SEX CRIMINALS (free plug!) to chronicling the new adventures of a character who’s had a resurgence in popularity thanks to a certain summer cinematic release. High praise and ample applause for Mr. Zdarksy. The book is rife with BWAH-HAH-HAH moments. Howard may be an ambulant alabaster ball of fury but every step he takes and every move he makes ends in disastrous results. Chip is a wonder wordsmith. The story comes full circle. Howard seems fated to be in captivity for the rest of his unlucky life.

Joe Quinones has also hit the big leagues. He’s made the transition from cover artist to full interiors. Gudonya! His pencils are well-defined. Howard definitely looks the part of an anseriforme with a touch of human-ness. Tara has sex appeal especially with that tattoo sprawled just below her neck and slightly above her bosom, as well as her arms. The other Marvel characters are the Real McCoy. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Rico Renzi shows his mettle with a multitude of tones and hues. Tara’s dark leather jacket gives her that ‘bad girl’ vibe while Howard’s brown coat typifies an investigator’s wardrobe. The other colours accurately depict the guest-stars and various surroundings.

Travis Lanham most likely had a field day contributing to Howard’s big-screen promo for his business. I also dig the ad on Jen’s laptop. Almost missed that! His lettering has a playfulness to it. One last thing to mention, the new logo squeezed into a balloon when an officer announces Howard’s release from the Big House.

I’m so giddy that I gotta cover all the bases. Take a peek below.

Chewy Morsels of Bread

Quips, puns, pop culture references, and subtle visuals follow!

• Quacking Pumpkins
• Quoting/paraphrasing “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” by the Smashing Pumpkins.
• Klakmud, the Gatherer’s designation for Earth. Is our planet really a ball of mud??
• Breaking the fourth wall. Deadpool, your shtick has been stolen.
• Wishful Inking, Tara’s body art shop.
• Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” (already mentioned)
• The cat ad(?) meme(?) on Jen’s laptop.
• Scary Mason. For you luddites, a play-on-words of Perry Mason, TV attorney-at-law!
• Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld and creator of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Does he have a duck face??
• Mistaken for Donald Duck. I’m sure Howard would enraged to hear that one.
• The ad for Howie’s business must be so racy that it’s been redacted. I’m curious to find out what has been blacked out.
• Howie’s business number —- 555-DUK-DICK
• Paraphrasing Monopoly® in the fine print of his ad. Howard definitely wants to one-up his business rival She-Hulk.
• Cat-Woman (already mentioned). It’s a good thing the hyphen was purposely put there. Otherwise, the Distinguished Competition would launch a lawsuit.
• Disclaimer for Hellcat: neither a cat nor particularly Satanic. That last point is open to debate.
• Hellcat has a generic signature in her picture frame: “To you, all the best! HC
• Howie can’t text. How many of you rely on auto-correct or just send the message replete with errors?
• Siri. The Amazing Spider-Man is an iPhone™ user. Plus, he uses Bing™ (commercial endorsement).
• Siri again. Leave it to her to misunderstand a query by capturing snippets of Howie’s and Spidey’s sentences.
• “Does whatever a spider can.” Howard is well aware of Spidey’s theme song. Gold star!
• “Sexy Golden Girl”. Tara equates Black Cat to this. I guess Felicia could be a younger, more modern, sexier version of Dorothy or Sophia.
• Shout-out to the 80’s. Headband, cheesy lyrics and music to boot.
• “No harm. No fowl.” on Howard’s tank top. UGH!
Cat in the Hat, Cat’s Cradle, Charlotte’s Web — all literary classics.
• “I’m the last surviving member of my race!” This could refer to an out-of-this-world-renown Martian or Kryptonian.
• “This red sun is killing me.” Killjoy for the Kryptonian.
• Powder Cosmic — the galaxy’s greatest getaway drug?? A riff on the Power Cosmic.
• Sagiquarius. I think the Zodiac should be shortened to six pairs.
• The Hobbyist. Why is Howie knocking us hardcore collectors??
• Garden gnomes. No backyard is complete without them!

Dissing the Duck

Looks like not everyone is a fan of the quackpot. From ruffling feathers to de-webbing feet, danger lurks!

Crabby Mood

How does this Duck have such a bad disposition? He calls Jen “a jade jerk” and then asks her to be his “jolly green client”.

The D Word

Go back to the 1960’s. Correction: the 1770’s. www.dictionary.com states that “doll” was used as a slang term from 1778 onward. Most women find this term extremely offensive. Howard, you’re gonna get duck-slapped!

Alrighty! After that lengthy list, I give this book 2 web feet down (the equivalent to two thumbs up). To simplify, 9.5 out of 10. This title is gonna stay fly. WAUGH!

duck feet

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