Howard The Duck #6 Review

Previously on...Animal House!

-The Deltas were placed on “double-secret probation” by the Dean!

Previously on...Animal House (the Marvel Comics storyline)!

-Howard the Duck tried to kidnap Nancy’s cat, mistaking it for a different cat.
-Squirrel Girl, being Nancy’s college roommate, stopped him and agreed to help him find the missing cat, Biggs.
-Kraven the Hunter returns, now in his Kra-Van, kidnapping Howard The Duck for his employer.
-His employer turns out to be Shannon Sugarbaker, who, despite her sweet (heh, puns) name, is an awful human being. She has collected superhero weapons and knockoff Doombots to cosplay with, but they actually work.
-Howard The Duck is dumped with Beast, Biggs (now altered to be a cyborg), Rocket Raccoon, and Weapon II, aka a Squirrel Wolverine. Shannon wants to hunt them for sport, as anthropomorphic animals are a “legal grey area” in the justice system.
-Squirrel Girl arrives to save Howard. Kraven refuses to hurt her, so Shannon knocks both of them out and consigns them to be hunted. They awaken in a forest, just as the hunt begins…

To put it simply, this is a glorious crossover. Chip Zdarsky is a brilliant satirist, making him the perfect person to write for Howard The Duck; the original series being based in satirizing comics, American life, politics, and whatever Steve Gerber was annoyed about at the time. Complementing him, Ryan North is just hilarious in general, especially with character interactions.

Putting together a grumpy duck-detective and an optimistic hero creates a great comedy duo. If Squirrel Girl is the Kimmy Schmidt of superheroes, then Howard the Duck is George Constanza. He is constantly complaining about his lot in life, being rude to almost everyone, and definitely neurotic. However, for all his faults, there is some justification, at least a mild one. He’s trapped on the 616-Earth, away from his family and friends.

Meanwhile, Squirrel Girl is optimistic to a fault. While she definitely believes in the right thing and that almost everyone can be good, she isn’t naive enough to discount a serious threat. When you pair the two heroes together, it creates an interesting dynamic. As much as I want to see an actual plot, I would be perfectly content with seeing them locked in a room, simply engaging in a philosophical debate. (Marvel- call me. Make Mine Machiavellian, a series about supervillains in therapy.)

As for the actual plot, it’s pretty straightforward. Squirrelverine, Squirrel Girl, Howard, Kraven, Beast, and Rocket Raccoon have to escape from Shannon and send her to jail. It’s not bad, but it does highlight one of my small issues with the storyline. Howard The Duck is more of a humor comic, so some of the side characters, like Beast and Rocket, were really just used for one-note jokes. I would have enjoyed seeing everyone form a trap together. Shannon’s eventual defeat is engaging, especially with some meta nods to DC Comics, but it lacks the teamwork usually shown in Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Additionally, I would have liked to see more of Howard’s friend, Tara. I feel that it was a missed opportunity to not have more of the characters from both series interact. Overall, I still recommend Howard The Duck #6. It is well worth your time. It feels truly collaborative, such as when the standard text jokes from Ryan’s comics appear in this comic, complete with commentary from both writers.

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or the Harry Potter books.