Howard the Duck (#28 – 29) – Marv Wolfman, Mark Evanier, Steve Gerber

2 out of 5

That ain’t my Howie, y’all.

Steve Gerber, ye of the late-turning-in-of-scripts, is booted from his own book.  It would seem he was kept on for a couple of issues while the transition was made, relegating him to editing only on 28 – Marv Wolfman takes over, Mary Skrenes dialogues – and scripting to Mark Evanier’s plot on 29.  Insult to injury, Wolfman’s issue is completely ignorant of continuity – Bev and Howard are hanging out again – and both issues, while professionally made books in their own right, are mostly what Gerber wanted to avoid for his Duck: they turn him into a punchline, funny animal-style star.

Issue 28, he inadvertently circles around a government plot to poison its citizens and saves the day; in 29, he inadvertently gets caught up in a charity scam and saves the day.  Steve’s script on 29 retains some of wauuugh put-upon-ness, but you can still tell this isn’t his story – it’s lacking in his delightful narration, it’s not a snipe upon any particular institution, and there’s no internal conflict for Ducky.  It’s just a story with hijinks.

Both books feature alternative artists to Colan and, again, the issues are made well, there’s just nothing to make them standout any longer.  The main character is a duck, yuk yuk.

Gerb at least got to have a pretty solid final “real” arc prior to this, and the series would struggle on to only two more issues afterwards, so neither the audience or perhaps the other involved creatives really wanted to see Howard without Steve.