writer: Chip Zdarsky / artist: Joe Quinones / Marvel Comics
Marvel’s latest run of Howard the Duck is a breath of fresh air, especially given the seriousness of the Secret Wars campaign (even if it’s been delayed two weeks). Already four issues in, Howard the Duck is full of humor delivered by both the protagonist and the narration from Zdarsky.
It reads like a reunion special of a sitcom where you have no idea who’s next to make an appearance. We’ve already seen the likes of Spider-Man, Aunt May, The Guardians of the Galaxy and many more. Issue #4 maintained the trend by bringing Doctor Strange into the fold, as well as The Human Torch.
In this issue, we see Howard tap into his lengthy network of reluctant associates. We see a more light-hearted side of Dr. Strange when it’s revealed that some of the times he’s believed to be traveling to an alternate universe to take on some higher being, he’s actually just playing a game of Texas Hold ’em to get a break from Wong, his overbearing assistant.
In previous issues, a lot of the series’ humor came from Howard’s quick responses and complaints about whatever mess he’s walked – or been dragged – into. But the funny gets spread around quite evenly in issue #4, with a hotshot Johnny Storm and surprisingly sassy Dr. Strange serving as co-stars.
Outside of just being downright hilarious, Howard the Duck also gives readers a list of homework assignments to complete every issue. Don’t know who Talos is? Look it up. Don’t know what happened in the first Secret Wars? Go digging through some crates – or digital archives. Howard the Duck is written for both the experienced comic book reader and those that recently came to the community as a result of Hollywood’s new superpowered agenda.
Sidenote: The extra stories in the back of the issues are always great.