Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Joe Quinones, Rico Renzi
Riding off the success of the post-credits scene in Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s resident ducktective (gotta work on my puns) received his own self-titled series. Howard is a talking duck that came to our world through an unfortunate series of events. Now he’s trapped here, and he’s just trying to make the best of a bad situation.
This is the first I’ve seen of Zdarsky’s work as a writer, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I read. I knew that this would be a goofy book because Zdarsky was writing it, and while I definitely got a book with multiple laugh-out-loud moments, there was also so much more there. The characters introduced were fleshed out, and recognizable heroes such as Spider-Man and She-Hulk felt like themselves rather than an interpretation. Howard and Tara, his sidekick for the issue, both feel original and real as opposed to cartoonish like one may have expected from a comic about a talking duck.
The art in this issue is, in a word, phenomenal. Quinones’ line work is so crisp, and he draws each character’s face with expression and life. Even background characters seem to have a bit of personality with the way he draws them. But the coloring, done by Renzi, is what really brings it all together in my mind. Right off the bat, the first panel we get is a brightly colored scene in space, which looks gorgeous with Quinones and Renzi working together.
The story is a bit all over the place, with many things being introduced in this first issue, but I enjoy the chaotic feel of it all. It seems to encompass Howard’s crazy life as a hapless hero who gets pulled into horrible situations. And while I originally thought the story might take the episodic route, with Howard taking on different cases each issue, it seems that Zdarsky has a bigger plot in mind. The issue ends with the introduction of a familiar face, but I won’t spoil who.
If I had to say one bad thing about this book, I guess it would be that perhaps at times the story felt a bit too over the top, but still, I felt it worked for the type of story being told. Howard’s life is anything but normal, no matter how badly he might want it to be, and we as readers can really see that here.