By Stuart Moore, Jacopo Camagni and Israel Silva
Maybe it wasn’t always true, but today comic book readership is a community made up of a highly diverse group of people. Sure, a bunch of us are nerds and geeks, but that doesn’t mean we fit the socially awkward stereotypes that have long been associated with comic book collectors. OK, maybe it does mean that in more than a few cases, but anyone hanging around the comic shop on a Wednesday will likely see men and women, young and old, from all walks of life, coming together for one sacred weekly tradition…new comic book day. Among those fans, rabid for the next issue in an ongoing series or satisfying their fix with yet another new title, are what can only be described as scholars. At some point we each feel as if we have absorbed enough knowledge on the subject of comics to fill an entire textbook, but there are those out there who study the content and creators of this beloved medium equally and at length. Those scholarly fans can enlighten and educate us with their extensive awareness of characters or stories from any point in the industry’s history, and not without significance to the time period in which they were published. Their vast and seemingly limitless list of facts, credits and insider-knowledge are amazing to the point you’d assume they only read the most serious, stylized and artful books that do nothing short of contributing the industry’s own legacy.
In reality, those fuddy-duddy know-it-alls trip out over Deapool just like the rest of us. Furthermore, there is no amount of serious dedication that can cause someone, no matter how much of an authority they may be, to overlook such a title as Deadpool the Duck! Simply put, although you can invest lots of time into reading as many books as possible, and learning as much about them as you can regarding when, why and how they were created, it’s true — comic books at their essence are meant to be fun, often silly picture books that make us smile and even laugh. Deadpool does that job very well. Even if it is meant for mature audiences, it isn’t supposed to be taken too serious. Deapool the Duck, however, does the job even better.
Howard the Duck is a well-known and ridiculous concept that has endured decades only to persevere in the modern Marvel Universe as a commodity worthy of the publisher’s investment. Whether that level of silliness was intentional or not, it happens to be the driving force behind the property today. It can’t be whacky enough apparently, as they go on ahead and mash Deapool and Howard together in one title…and into one being. But, who’s complaining anyway? It just so happens it works out nicely when you take Deadpool’s incessant banter and penchant for violence and combine it with Howard’s stylish, gritty neo-noir flavor. What you get here is, well, just what you’d expect: sitcom-like misunderstandings, puke, nonsense, oh an even Rocket Raccoon makes an appearance. World’s collide and then some, but darned if Howard doesn’t look pretty cool in Deadpool’s costume.
Writer Stuart Moore delivers sharp witty dialogue suitable for both franchises. He’s actually got a story going here too, with a genuine plot. Although the concept is outlandish, the character interactions feel natural and not as forced as you may’ve suspected. No matter what you’re writing about, comics require steady pacing and a flow that tells the story without hiccups. Mission accomplished, and it’s clearer than ever that Moore has what it takes to write just about any style of book he chooses. Best thing about this first issue has got to be his ability to bring it all together in one book, drama, action and humor. But make no mistake…this book ain’t all that serious, not that it should be.
Jacopo Camagni’s art on the other hands is magnificently dramatic, which provides a great contrast with the subject matter. Rocket, Howard and Deadpool look so damn cool that you almost forget to laugh when the story calls for it. The action is as good as any Marvel comic and Camagni’s artwork is dynamic enough to demand a second and third look. For a funny book, it’s a longer more enjoyable read than you may think at a glance. Add in colors by Israel Silva and you get yet another layer of both professionalism and intensity. Among the various explosions, laser blasts, puke and drool, the book is at times almost literally electric thanks to digital effects and heavily saturated tones. Bright, vibrant colors with masterful shading and painterly effects make this book come to life…the comic just screams out at you in so many ways from the shelf!
Perhaps surprisingly, this is a beautiful book and a pleasurable reading experience. And this is only Part One, so if this brand of comic book comedy is for you then rest assured there’s more to come. Hats off to the creative team and everyone involved for doing the book justice and for taking it serious, if only so the completely insane nature of the story can shine through appropriately. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a few awesome variant covers to choose from. So, what are you waiting for? It’s Deadpool the Duck for God’s sake!