Howard the Duck has been one of Marvel’s most critiqued and controversial characters since he first hit the pages of Adventure into Fear in 1973. The dastardly duck was created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik, and ever since his inception, he’s been waddling his way into the minds and hearts of countless comic book lovers. And thanks to a combination of his controversial history and his everlasting cynicism, Howard the Duck is a sort of cult classic character. With that being said, I jumped at the opportunity to review Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection Vol.4.
What’s Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection Vol. 4 about? From the publisher:
Howard the Duck’s classic adventures conclude in this riotous volume! First, Howie and Bev face the geriatric menace of the Grey Panther, and do that voodoo that they do so well! But will a Christmas miracle show Howard it’s a wonderful life – or quite the opposite?! He’ll win a fortune -and lose a fortune! There’ll be animal antics with the Gopher and…Spider-Ham?! And Howard will join She-Hulk as they wrap their heads around the Cosmic Squish Principle! Plus: Two Spider-Man team-ups for the price of one…but what the heck are the Elf with a Gun and the Circus of Crime doing here? Waaaugh!
This collection Collects Howard the Duck Magazine #8-9, Marvel Team-Up (1972) #96, Howard the Duck (1976) #32-33, Sensational She-Hulk #14-17 and material from Bizarre Adventures #34, Marvel Tales (1964) #237, and Spider-Man Team-Up #5. We start out with some classic Howard the Duck goodness and end with one heck of a ‘modern’ Howard the Duck mash-up.
Some may argue that the best Howard the Duck is the classic, colorless Howard the Duck that Gerber and Mayerik imagined. I agree in part with that statement, but thankfully, in Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection Vol. 4, readers don’t have to choose. Out of the classic stories found in this collection, my favorite involves Howard dressing up as Duckman, the Dark-night Ducktective and his sidekick Duck Girl taking down villains that are remarkably similar to villains found in Batman/Detective Comics. Behold, satire at its best ladies and gentlemen.
As great as Howard the Duck’s stories are when he’s on his own–with Bev, of course–watching Howard interact with other members of the Marvel Universe is, more often than not, priceless. This is apparent in Spider-Man Team-Up #5 where we find Howard the Duck teaming up with Spider-Man–who, might I add, isn’t even Peter Parker–in an attempt to take down the Elf with a Gun and the Circus of Crime. If that doesn’t scream odd and interesting, I don’t know what does. Despite being outlandish, the story works well and entertains.
If you’re looking for a good time, pick up Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection Vol. 4. If you’re expecting incredible depth of story and multi-faceted, multi-layered characters, look elsewhere. Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection Vol. 4 is a must-have for fans and a solid choice for newcomers.