HOWARD THE DUCK #7
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Art by Kevin Maguire, Joe Quinones, Jordan Gibson, Travis Lanham
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 4, 2016
Howard the Duck #7 takes a fun, eclectic group of Marvel characters to the Savage Land in a zany send-up/tribute to Jurassic Park as only Chip Zdarsky could do it. Enlisting Kevin Maguire for art chores, Zdarsky gives Maguire a fun range of characters to work with, showcasing Maguire’s versatility and emphasizing the whimsy inherent in Maguire’s characters. In addition to the dinosaurs (Savage Land, remember?) Howard the Duck #7 also features Steve Rogers (old and rugged version), She-Hulk, Spider-Man, and Daredevil.
If he wasn’t beforehand, Kevin Maguire should either be considered as the regularly-scheduled fill-in artist for Howard the Duck, or he should be devising a creator-owned project with Zdarsky. The two collaborators have a stride together here that would make three-legged racers envious. Zdarsky’s characters match Maguire’s art nicely, with each exaggerating the energy, sarcasm and wit from the other’s craft nicely. Spider-Man’s expression is hidden throughout the issue, but at no point is the reader left wanting to understand Spidey’s attitude, which is frequently comedic venting and exasperation. Regular Howard the Duck artist Joe Quinones splits coloring duties with Jordan Gibson, and the two fill Howard the Duck #7 with all of the vibrant energy an off-beat, entertaining comic grounded in the world of spandex-wearing super-powered beings fighting dinosaurs should have. The colors are plucked form childhood imagination, which matches the energy Maguire puts in his drawings. His dinosaurs are solid and real, but animated and lively, and it would definitely be a good thing to see Maguire do more in this direction.
Zdarsky keeps the comic light and fun, despite the fact that the dinosaurs could snap most of the characters present one way or another (remember that whole Jurassic Park reference earlier?). The writer balances the diverse cast, giving everyone sufficient dialog interaction, assignments during the on-panel action and finishes Howard the Duck #7 off with an “only in comics” ending that employs both comic book science and self-aware humility. Zdarsky balances the tale between a true suspenseful mission and uproarious comedy. After all, this is a comic about a talking duck who chooses to call upon ridiculously powered beings for help. The “Editor’s Notes” sprinkled throughout the comic add a separate laugh track that add depth to the humor and provide readers with more entertainment beyond this issue’s baseline plot.
Entertaining and light-hearted from cover to cover, Howard the Duck #7 is a fun read that packs in more of the Marvel Universe than it should and clearly has fun doing it. If a comic itself could have fun. At the very least, it certainly appears that the creators had fun working on this comic. In short, this is another solid issue of Chip Zdarsky’s lovingly irreverent Howard the Duck series, given a visual change-up by Kevin Maguire. Hopefully the dinosaur on the cover draws in some otherwise pedestrian eyeballs, as more comic fans would find plenty to enjoy in this comic.
The Verdict: 8.0/10