Howard the Duck (#22 – 23) – Steve Gerber

3 out of 5

After challenging himself to push through Ducky’s various personas and a mid-life crisis to find a nice blend of randomness and commentary, Steve pulls back and rests on his laurels a bit, offering up a silly, lightly-farcical Star Wars (‘Star Waaugh!’) spin that’s a rather lazy bite at commercialism.  It is a welcome return for Val Mayerik and our Man-Thing crew – Korrek, Manny, Jennifer Kale, Dakimh – and the exuberantly weird reintroduction of these characters in the opening pages of ish 22 is laugh-out-loud writing, but everything after that merits about a chuckle; it’s all of very little consequence.  The Star Wars references are turned in to some funny named characters, with the Death Star replaced by a ‘Death Store’ – a space mall filled with attacking customer service agents and the like – and there’s the way-too-on-the-nose bit about Howard needing to tap into ‘the farce,’ as though Steve realized it wasn’t worth his time to dig too deep into something that wasn’t going to have any further impact on the book or character.

Well drawn by Mayerik, for sure, and not without some good laughs, but sort of a low point in the series, where it becomes the gag book I feel like Steve had been trying to avoid making it.