Monday, September 5, 2016

Howard the Duck #10 Review and **SPOILERS** - Marvel Monday

Breaking Wind on the Fourth Wall

Written By: Chip Zdarsky
Art By: Joe Quinones, Joe Rivera with Mark Deering, Jordan Gibson
Lettered By: Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: August 31, 2016


Here’s the closing scene song from Howard the Duck, probably titled “Howard the Duck,” sung by Lea Thompson!

How about that? Now, read my review of issue #10!

Explain It!

Have you ever read the current run on Howard the Duck and thought, “This comic book is okay, but there’s way too much of an anthropomorphic duck named Howard in it. What I’d really like to see is the creators speaking to me, the reader, through a couple of douchebag aliens that make a bunch of inside jokes about their employer and co-workers like some fucking tepid Canadian version of the Office.” Well, Marvel has heard your plea, true believer, and crafted an issue with you in mind! While Howard is being throttled by interstellar reality show producer and drug-addled fatass Mojo, purple aliens Chipp [wink] and Jho [wink, wink] are shitting bricks because they realize their whole ruse is up. Seems they are part of a some kind of entertainment-spewing space fort or something called Sparkitron? It really seems irrelevant. Point is, Chipp and Jho broke some rule by scripting Howard’s real-life adventures, and by having him find out that his whole life is just some shitty television show. Which, I suppose, is better than finding out that your life is a shitty comic book.

Chipp and Jho decide they have to get down to Earth to try and defuse this situation, and if that doesn’t work, hightail it the hell out of Dodge. On the way out, they talk to a fake (book editor) Will Moss, and a fake Ta-Nehisi Coates, then they bump into a fake Erica Henderson and a fake Ryan North (who is riding a hoverboard and dressed like Future Marty from Back to the Future Part 2), and it’s all very precious until you realize you’ve paid four bucks to read something that should have been doodled at a company meeting and pinned up on the break room’s bulletin board. The two of them hop in a spaceship and secretly take it down to Earth, where Mojo is talking—oh how he is talking! Blah, blah, blah-blah, blah. Meanwhile, Aunt May is with the partially-robotic cat Biggs, just sort of hanging around. I’d forgotten about this angle entirely, and here it is! A very important scene. The entire book hinges upon it. Then, the fight between Howard, Tara, and Mojo’s key grips spills out onto the street, as if the previous scene didn’t matter! How rude!

How does this whole thing wrap up…Chipp and Jho land on Earth, bust out that superhero-killing Sentinel-Punisher from issue #8—and there’s even a comment in the narrative about it being a clever call-out! Yes, how delicious! A stupid thing from two issues ago, brought back! And then to be so self-referential—how delightfully witty! How very splendid! It all ends with Chipp and Howard getting into a struggle, and Howard says his adventures from before Chipp and Jho started screwing with him were written better, so Chipp stabs him. In the last panel, it looks like Tara is cradling Howard’s lifeless body, which is unlikely because there is one more issue to this. Thank flipping God.

I don’t have one complaint about the art or plotting. In fact, I think it’s spectacular. But I have a big problem with this story that seems to have been extracted from Chip Zdarsky’s linty navel. I love comics that break the fourth wall. John Byrne’s She-Hulk is one of my favorite comics of all time. Ambush Bug was my favorite character as a little kid. But this shit is just covering up for the fact that writing endings are tough. “Gosh, I’m having trouble with finishing this story—I know, why don’t I insert myself into this story to show how much trouble I’m having with finishing this story?” And I might be more forgiving if Zdarsky hadn’t done it before in other comics. This thing has gotten lame as hell, and the last issue will be more a mercy killing for this complete mess of a tale.

Bits and Pieces:

That Joe Quinones sure can draw, huh? Skip this narrative abortion of a comic book.


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