Monday, August 1, 2016

Howard the Duck #9 Review and **SPOILERS** - Marvel Mondays

The Rouen Show

Written By: Chip Zdarsky
Art By: Joe Quinones, Joe Rivera, Paolo Rivera, Marc Deering, Jordan Gibson
Lettered By: Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: July 27, 2016


Sometimes I like to think that the Howard in the Dead Milkmen’s “Howard Beware” is about Howard the Duck.

It probably isn’t, but I like to believe. Read on for my review of issue #9!

Explain It!

Well, Lea Thompson is in this comic book. No, not a stand-in for Lea Thompson named Lena Sompton. Not the coincidentally-named alter ego of some newly-christened cannon fodder member of the X-Men. Actual Lea Thompson, star of Some Kind of Wonderful, Back to the Future, and yes, Howard the Duck. The Movie. The Spielberg one. Is Zdarsky aware of what he’s unleashed with this kind of crossover? When the Avengers were on Late Night with David Letterman (#239, January 1984), the multiverse was in flux for months! Loki kept showing up to pull pranks on Larry “Bud” Melman in the middle of taping! Paul Shaeffer had to fend off the Scarlet Witch’s advances! It was anarchy! Yet here’s Lea freaking Thompson soliciting the services of Howard the Duck (in his capacity as a private dick, you sick-minded freak [as in private detective, you immoral gross bucket]) to find out just what the hello operator has been going on around here! Which is something I’d like to know, as well!

Seems Lea Thompson has been experiencing periodic blackouts and blocks of unaccountable time, and when she saw Howard’s picture in a newspaper ad, she was compelled to seek his help for unknown reasons. In terms of hard evidence, all she’s got is a picture of a baby in a wheelchair wearing a green suit, which would be adorable if it wasn’t so unsettling. Howard goes to retrieve his best assistant, who happens to be the only assistant he’s worked with in this volume of the series, Tara. She’s over at…the Baxter Building, I guess? I assume that only because she’s trying on an old Fantastic 4 jumpsuit, made from unstable molecules, with good old Johnny Storm hanging around, telling her not to try to sleep with him because he’s seeing Medusa (the Inhuman, not the Gorgon [No, not the Inhuman named Gorgon]). This leads to some pretty funny exchanges that I enjoyed, even though I don’t really know what is currently happening with Johnny Storm or the Inhumans in the Marvel Universe (though now I know Johnny is dating one of them! Thanks, comic book!) Outfitted with clothes that will transform with her, Tara takes a look at Lea Thompson’s picture and recognizes it as the product of Brooklyn’s hippest baby photography salon, Superbabies! And the picture, incidentally, is of a baby dressed up like Professor Xavier of the X-Men. Pretty clever.

The trio make off for Superbabies, and after distracting the hipster attending the storefront they steal into the cavernous back room of the place, that turns out to be a television studio! There, a mountainous fellow whose legs are replaced by some kind of mechanical insect chassis, introduces himself as MOJO! the creative director of this endeavor, aided by his producer/bean counter Major Domo, who have assembled a small cast and crew, including a periodically and temporarily kidnapped Lea Thompson, to film the reality show of Howard the Duck’s life! Huh? Well, no…the implication is that when there’s a Howard the Duck comic book, then they can “film” that. But during the lapses during which Howard does not appear in comics and/or does not have his own series, Mojo has to film a scripted version of his life, which includes Lea Thompson playing his old Steve Gerber-era squeeze, Beverly, and a little blue alien named Trevor that wears a Howard the Duck costume (that is suspiciously similar to the one from the Howard the Duck movie!) But more recently, Mojo has gotten all the real footage he’s needed by making Howard’s life really complicated, thanks to…two aliens sitting before a bank of televisions displaying Howard on the last page! And I’m pretty sure they’re supposed to be analogous to Joe Quinones and Chip Zdarsky. I mean, the one alien is definitely Zdarsky. I guess the other guy looks like Joe Quinones, I could see it. Quinones is a little less descript than Chip, but the fact that he’s a little chubby implies that it’s him. The other guy is definitely supposed to be Zdarsky, I mean that guy is distinctive. He’s got a shnozz like something out of a Basil Wolverton cartoon.

Though it’s still clear that this series is winding down, I enjoyed this more than the last issue because it was a lot more madcap and silly rather than encumbered by its own continuity. I guess the fact is that I don’t really feel like watching touching, emotional scenes featuring a humanoid with a giant duck’s head. The art is top notch as usual, Quinones is definitely tailoring a style that works great for this kind of story. And the story is a little fun, despite getting a little clunky at the very end. But I believe I get the point of what is happening, and that’s good enough for me.

Bits and Pieces:

Howard the Duck teams up with Lea Thompson to find out the cause of her memory loss and strange attraction to Howard, and what they find may shock you! It depends on your composition, I guess. If you're easily surprised, then you will probably be the most shocked. If you're super jaded and "over it" already, then you're likely not to be that shocked. Or, even if you are shocked, you won't let your reaction betray the feeling. I'm not going to tell you the shocking twist here, you're going to have to read the comic book. But I can tell you that Lea Thompson is in this issue, since she's featured on the cover.


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