The second issue of Howard the Duck is essentially, for the main arc at least, a standalone story (that will eventually tie into to main story – probably next issue, even, but that’s besides the point). It’s a look back at the origins of two characters that debuted at the end of the first issue, an origin story that you probably didn’t know you needed, but will be thankful for nonetheless.
Well Howard The Duck #2 is another superbly written comic from Chip Zdarsky, a man who is fast becoming one of my favourite comic book writers. This story this issue focuses almost exclusively on the origin of the two female counterparts to Rocket Raccoon and Howard the Duck himself, without much more than a cameo appearance from either of Howard or Rocket. And honestly? I didn’t miss the fact that Howard didn’t appear in the main story in his own comic, because the story we got wouldn’t work as well if he played a more central role. The origin story has some surprisingly touching moments, brought to life brilliantly by Veronica Fish‘s art work. Although I’m sure this comic will play a bigger role in the series down the road, this story is still one that can be enjoyed with only a modicum of foreknowledge of the series.
It’s absolutely no secret at this point that I enjoy this series as much, if not more than, any other Marvel comic that I read. Indeed, the only comics that have come close to matching my enjoyment of this series come from an entirely different publisher (Valiant), Howard the Duck remains one of the highlights on my pull list every month, and this comic is absolutely lives up to what I hoped it would be. This issues main story, Our World, is a step away from the dry exasperation of Howard‘s usual adventures (the dry humour is still present, but it’s not the main appeal here), and instead showcases a more emotional side to the interwoven themes of finding love, acceptance and friendship in the most unusual of places that Zdarsky has as the backdrop to his run on this series – both this volume and the last.
If all that wasn’t enough to encourage you to think about picking Howard The Duck #2 up, the backup strip featuring Gwenpool returns as well. It’s good, but it’s not worth the $4.99 price tag for the ten pages it takes up if you’re not already thinking of reading the series. It is, however, worth the extra dollar that this series is now priced at (as opposed to the $3.99 before the start of Secret Wars).
A back up strip worth the price, and a comic with a surprising amount of emotional punch? This just shows why Howard the Duck should be on your pull list.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky Artist: Veronica Fish
Back up strip: Writer: Christopher Hastings Art: Danillo S. Beyruth
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy