Monday, July 09, 2018

Way back when I was a teenager, my family and I would be up near Glacier National Park most of the summer, but for my birthday would usually go into Kalispell for a movie. Which means when I was 15, we went to see Howard the, I don't think I've ever watched it since, but I'm pretty sure I don't need to. That was coming at a time where superhero and comic book tie-ins were few and far between, and I so wanted it to be good, and nope. I hadn't read any of his comics at that point either, and while I know some of his history (and that of creator Steve Gerber) I don't have any great attachment to him. But I did get a few cheap ones recently, and this one's got old man Steve Rogers, Daredevil, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, the Savage Land, and Kevin Maguire! Well, that's got to be worth a look, right? From 2016, Howard the Duck #7, written by Chip Zdarsky, art by Kevin Maguire, color art by Joe Quinones and Jordan Gibson.

Incidentally, this was...around Secret Wars, since out of the assortment of HtD's I got in a pile, the numbering is a mess. There is an editorial footnote joke in the very first panel, as head of Parker Industries Peter Parker schmoozes with society types at a party, fishing for info for Howard and She-Hulk. They're trying to track down her missing client, Gary Stark--no relation to Tony, although he almost certainly didn't tell people that. Gary's described as making his bank off of knockoffs and untraceable burner phones, which were used by the mob, so the district attorney's office was after him as well: namely, Matt Murdock! She-Hulk isn't thrilled to see him, but he's there when Peter tells Howard Gary went missing with some other millionaires, on some kind of dinosaur safari. Ergo, the Savage Land. Matt wants to go, but She-Hulk vetoes a blind guy going on that trip, so he says he'll send his pal Daredevil instead. (His secret identity being secret again, for like the eighth time.) Spider-Man, who had asked his friend Peter for help, shows up and figures for a Savage Land trip, "we better ask Grandpa for the car." Enter Steve Rogers! Currently older than dirt, but okay. With Howard and his Skrull um, super-powered assistant Tara, they're on their way by the fifth page.

Stretching to get a look around, Tara gets grabbed by a passing pterodactyl, and my favorite joke of the issue ensues: She-Hulk jumps after her, right into the way of Spidey's web-line. I really don't think She-Hulk has ever warmed to Spider-Man. Howard gives Spidey a sick burn about his "spider-sense" being self-centered, before they find "Savage Park." That seems familiar somehow...Daredevil thinks he hears something and takes off, with She-Hulk right after him, since she didn't want DD beating any info out of her client. DD counters the guy's guilty as hell, and that info could net bigger bad guys. (I think I have the fairly recent 2015 She-Hulk issue with her vs. Matt, defending old man Steve! Their rivalry seems pretty recent, then.)

The bad guy here, Dave, had a plan to use his partner Janice's cybernetic helmets to control dinosaurs for a theme park; but then changed his mind and decided to hold his rich guests for ransom. (Which I'm not sure he ever asked anyone for, but when you're riding a tyrannosaur around you've got other things going.) Dave quite rightly points out this "bunch of city folk in sexy outfits!" might not be the best match against dinosaurs; while Steve tries to use one of the helmets to override Dave's control. Somewhat surprisingly, it fails, possibly because he was old and beat; but Spidey realizes Howard might be able to better connect with the dinosaurs, since birds descended from them. That does the trick, which Howard absolutely takes credit for.

Steve suggests rounding everyone up to head home, but Howard asks, why not stay a bit? Is anyone in a hurry to get back to New York, their crappy jobs, or Deadpool? He might have a point. This was a fun book, although even only two years out from it, it feels like a snapshot of a specific time now gone! Parker Industries and Old Man Cap are long gone, and I know She-Hulk went through some stuff since too. At least Daredevil still has a secret of right this second, I think.

1 comment:

SallyP said...

God, I do love Kevin Maguire, and I will read just about anything if he is the artist.