Kirk's Reviews > Howard the Duck MAX

Howard the Duck MAX by Steve Gerber
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Feb 02, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: graphic-novels-comic-books

A duck-man turned moose-fish living with a woman who was married to a guy with a bell for a head. A plot to convert young women into political zombies via test-tube boy bands. The holy trinity on a several decade binge in some hole-in-the-wall bar. And of course, every DC/Vertigo character lodging in hell's finest establishment.

This was a strange read, and that's exactly why I liked it. As a fan of the DC/Vertigo line, I really loved the depiction of Hellblazer as a drunken sod whose characterization relied heavily on his overblown accent. Spider Jerusalem is depicted as a drugged up journalist with an inflated ego whose powers of observation are relatively amplified because everyone else in his world is blind. Wait. Was this parody? Because that's exactly what they are in the DC/Vertigo lineup.

If nothing else, Gerber's tale offers us a glimpse into the realm of character generation. With a few shifts, he takes the flawed characters we love and boils them down to formulaic simplicity, which only made me love them even more. However, I'm not sure about the alleged biting social commentary. Yeah, there are boy bands being mass produced in protein tanks, but the target audience already recognizes the parallels between this and the real world most likely. So I guess some of the themes and elements of plot in the story act more as a validating pat on the back for the reader than exposure to social phenomena we're too blind or sidetracked to see going on before our very eyes.

But there's nothing wrong with a validating pat on the back every now and then. And there's nothing wrong with laughing at the things we love from time to time, and in turn, laughing at ourselves.
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