Howard The Duck #1


Capsule Review

I fell like a killjoy by not liking this. Writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Joe Quinones have put together what seems like a fun book. Or maybe it just seems like they had fun putting it together, I dunno. I’m old enough to remember Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck for rapid-fire and biting social commentary, and while it is entirely possible I’m seeing the past through the wrong end of the telescope, I found this Howard a pretty weak reflection of the original. Here Howard is a private detective who is sick of his life and solicits the help of Doctor Strange to return to his old world, which entails a road trip to Florida punctuated by multiple scene-setting flashbacks (none of which, amazingly, clue the reader into the basic how-and-why of a talking duck in the Marvel Universe). This Howard has plenty of heart, but he has lost his teeth. The in-joke Marvel gags are just OK, and the book’s one political joke is a soundbite-driven showdown with a redneck truck driver that’s intended to be a roundhouse punch, but lands like a feather pillow. Waugh!

Approachability For New Readers

Poor. The book starts with a flashback to an event that is never explained or put in context, and you’ll have to rely on Wikipedia to learn the basics of Howard himself.

Read #2?


Sales Rank

(#28 November)

Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.

Howard The Duck #1



About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published every now and then at!

Posted on December 11, 2015, in Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I recently wrote about this issue in the sixth installment of my “If It WAUGHs Like a Duck” series. I liked it more than you, but I have gone back and forth on how much I like Zdarsky’s Howard (I LOVE Quinones art). I did absolutely adore issue #2, however.

    I do wish both this and the original series (which I am reading for the first time along with the new series) had more bite. The original series has been mostly a disappointment to me after to so many years of hype.

    You can see an index of all the installments at the link above, or go directly to #6 where I cover Howard the Duck vol. 6, #1, here.


    • You have done a deeper duck dive than I, for sure! I will defer to you in all things web-footed … I’m less a fan of Howard than I am of Steve Gerber, and never really got on board with Howard his first time around (and I was puzzled even then about his breakout success). When I read the old books it is to hear Gerber’s voice, more than to enjoy the Duck. But we take what we can get. Absent Gerber I suppose it is no wonder I wouldn’t warm to this new Howard.


  2. Sorry Paul, but I’m with you. I loved the original Howard the Duck for its cynicism and humor, all in one neat, lovable, downy wrapper. But this: it’s pillow-stuffing material. It tries too hard to be biting and funny, and just feels contrived.

    Number 2: Heck no.


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