Howard The Duck #11 Review: Why Howard Fits The Bill

With Howard The Duck #11, Chip and Joe have finally unleashed the culmination of over a year’s worth of careful scripting, planning, and making Spider-Man cry like a baby. It’s emotional, wonderful, and typically hilarious. Not only does it have a satisfying conclusion for Howard’s latest emotional and physical journey and a tease of potential tales to come, but it has some great character moments. Here’s a roundup of my favorite moments, not counting Tara’s multiple costume shifts, including parodies of comics from other companies and her Fantastic Four suit, and Howard calling for the Avengers to assemble.

In a moment made of enough awesomeness to rival Bruce Banner turning into the incredible Hulk, Tara-Former makes her glorious return!
Cosplayers, you have your new assignment. Recreate this scene in any medium of your choosing and send pictures to me.

Not to ruin the moment of the intrinsic coolness of the All-New-Squared Wolverine, but I do have to question why Howard would be in Hell along with Chipp and Jho. I know he's a jerk, but is he really that bad of a guy?
Is it too late to work that into the final issue of Tom King's Vision comic? Aranwe, you're with me on this, right?

And so, Image Comics was born. Wait, what?
Ever since the character’s creation in 1973, Howard the Duck has been used as a mouthpiece for some semblance of normality in a world populated with monsters, super-powered beings, and villains bent on conquering the world. As such, it makes sense that the one seemingly normal being would be an anthropomorphic duck with anger issues from a dimension where animals were the dominant species, not hairless talking apes.

His function has always been to act as an angry voice of reason, pointing out all the hypocrisy and bizarre actions not only in the Marvel world, but also in our world. In a comic book store full of superheroes having adventures and dealing with their personal problems, Howard The Duck revolved around subverting all of that in favor of wacky adventures, occasionally delving into fourth-wall breaking. From a certain point of view, Howard was Deadpool before Deadpool existed, a fact that has not been lost in a recent Deadpool issue.

Coincidentally, that story also had some weighty themes about fictional characters, existentialism, and poop jokes.
In fact, in a defining moment of the original series, Howard refused to have a stereotypical comic book fight scene, leading the comic itself to force him to have one while he gives a lecture on philosophy. Not many people know that Steve Gerber actually made a pretty intelligent comic disguised as a Disney satire.

A more recent one-shot, Spider-Man: Back In Quack, also has an excellent example of how Howard subverts the status quo. Howard and Beverly become brainwashed by S.O.O.P.H.I., an evil organization that wants to use them for a marketing scheme. The organization actually appeared in the original run as S.O.O.F.I., group that wanted to rub out anything remotely controversial “for the children.” We’re talking actual censorship, not what people complain about in Internet comment sections.

They were shortly revealed to be murderous terrorists, outright bombing a rock concert for corrupting teens.
This new version plans on marketing an allegedly hip and modern version of Howard to the public, one who has traded smoking and grumping for rapping and dancing. Same stupid mask, different agenda. After a motivational speech from Spider-Man, Howard and Beverly break free from the effects of the brainwashing.

Seen here, an exclusive image from Disney's DuckTales reboot. Woo-hoo?
It’s interesting to note that Howard actually has a fairly long connection with Spider-Man. He guest-starred in the first issue of the ongoing series, co-starred in several issues and specials to follow, and is a recurring character for the majority of Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones’s work. In fact, even when he’s not there, Aunt May is typically appearing in the comic, working as Howard’s assistant.

Essentially, this final issue encapsulates everything that made the original series great. For what it’s worth, I think that Chip and Joe are some of the best comedy writers in the business. RIP, Howard, may you have a long and happy life off-panel before Marvel brings you back. Fear not, readers, my Howard The Duck-related reviews will be back in January with the next Deadpool miniseries, Deadpool The Duck. Until then, face front, make mine Marvel, and let’s end with a hearty WAUGH!

Howard The Duck #11 can be found at your local comic book shop.

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