Ever since Samuel L. Jackson showed up as Nick Fury in the post-credits sequence to Iron Man, Marvel’s Cinematic Universe films have had a tradition of serving up a little something awesome for the folks who stick around until after that bit about which film stock the movie used. Usually these little teasers have set up the next movie in the over-arching continuity, but Guardians of the Galaxy — in typical irreverent fashion — instead introduced an obscure Marvel character into the MCU canon. Moviegoers who weren’t hardcore fans were probably just confused when an anthropomorphic duck showed up to talk smack to Benecio del Toro’s Collector, but true fans knew that duck’s name was Howard, and that he was around long before George Lucas’ much-maligned ’80s flick. Now Marvel’s print side plans to follow up on the Guardians movie’s tease, with an upcoming comic story revealing just how Howard wound up in The Collector’s collection.
All will be revealed in the second issue of Marvel’s new Howard the Duck series, set to hit stands in April, and which finds Howard imprisoned by The Collector alongside everyone’s favorite weapons-obsessed space raccoon, Rocket. Of course, the Guardians movie unfolds in an entire different continuity than Marvel’s comics, so I’m guessing this upcoming Howard story will occupy some nebulous territory between the two. Or just consider this an “Elseworlds” story. Wait, that’s the other guys…
Here’ what Howard the Duck series writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Joe Quinones told EW about the movie pseudo-tie-in:
Quinones: I think we’re going for something a bit more grounded here. We really wanted to explore Howard’s pain and loneliness, and how he expresses his outsider frustrations with extreme violence. Kidding! It’s definitely meant to be funny. I’m a big comedy fan, so expect a lot of visual gags throughout. Chip and I have already been brainstorming some on the subject.
Zdarsky: Expect a humorous tale of time and sexuality! I’ve basically just copied Matt’s first three Sex Criminals scripts and replaced characters with Howard and some C-level superheroes. I think it’s going to be fun! We’ll get to explore the Marvel Universe with a very short tour guide and a very good artist and me, a man who dresses as Garfield on the weekends.
Here’s our breakdown of the week’s new science fiction comics!
Battlestar Galactica: Death of Apollo #3 (Dynamite Entertainment)
An exclusive Ardian Syaf cover, only available to comic shop subscribers and limited to initial orders. In this issue, the Cylons have returned, and their first strike at the fleet has cost the life of Galactica‘s favourite son, Apollo. As the grieving Galacticans struggle with their loss, and Starbuck contemplates reckless revenge, Adama must find focus and contemplate the odds: the Cylon threat is stronger and more insidious than ever before. Unless the fleet can defeat or outrun the Cylons, humanity will soon be as dead as his beloved son. Shocking drama and continuity-shaking military SF action from the acclaimed cosmic creative team of Abnett and Dietrich Smith.
Cluster #1 (BOOM! Studios)
WHY WE LOVE IT: Ed Brisson (Sheltered) is one of comics’ best new voices and we could not wait to work with him on an original series following his run on Sons of Anarchy. After hearing his pitch for a gritty, violent, sci-fi epic in the vein of The Dirty Dozen, we knew there was no one better to bring the criminal cast of characters to life than the other half of the Sons of Anarchy team and Ed’s Murder Book collaborator, Damian Couceiro.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: Cluster is a series for fans of old-school, hard-boiled action. Brisson and Couceiro know how to tell stories about rich characters with criminal backgrounds, and the off-world setting allows them to tell personal stories with a massive scope. Have you ever wondered what a book starring all those lowlifes in the gutters of sci-fi havens like Mos Eisley would look like? Then we have the book for you.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: In the distant future, as mankind discovers life on other planets, it needs soldiers to defend its colonies and outposts across the stars. In order to increase the number of boots on the ground, criminals are offered the opportunity to serve in the place of incarceration. But as wars wage on and more soldiers are needed, small-time crimes are given long-term punishments. When a group of prisoners serving their time as soldiers become stranded and abandoned on a war-torn planet, they’ll need to work together to survive and uncover the truth behind Earth’s role in deep space.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes #3 (BOOM! Studios)
As Caesar’s search group ropes new apes into the fold, Pope begins to implement his siege for power and dominance over his newfound tribe. On the other side of America, Malcolm must decide between two worlds — a community built on stability and support or going back on the road for the rumored cure in Austin.
EGOs #5 (Image Comics)
Beginning ‘CRUNCHED,’ the EGOs’ biggest storyline yet! The narcissistic super-team of the future returns to battle an invisible threat to the galactic economy. Featuring the erratic Prisoner Seven; The Commander, aged hero of the Crunch War; and a few cruel twists. ‘An epic sci-fi tale with action, sincerity and humor.’ -All-Comic
Escape From New York #3 (BOOM! Studios)
Are you ready for…General Plissken? The independent state of Florida has forced Snake to train their troops for the inevitable war with the United States. But you know Snake, he’s not exactly ‘Employee of the Year.’ He’s just trying to find his freedom, and may anger two warring factions in the process!
Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha #1 (Marvel Comics)
The Black Vortex, an ancient artifact of immense and immeasurable power has resurfaced on the far side of the galaxy. With the power to unlock its users’ true cosmic potential, in the wrong hands, the Black Vortex’s power could be a force of unparalleled destruction. Imagine the power that transformed Jean Grey into the Phoenix or Norin Radd into the Silver Surfer available to anyone, and in the hands of those who would use it for evil!
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952 #3 (Dark Horse)
Hellboy’s first mission takes an ugly turn when one of his team members turns against him. Will Hellboy be able to survive the assault from within the BPRD and the onslaught of terrors hiding in the ancient fortress above?
Nameless #1 (Image Comics)
An astronomer kills his family, then himself, leaving a cryptic warning. A Veiled Lady hunts her victims through human nightmares. An occult hustler known only as ‘Nameless’ is recruited by a consortium of billionaire futurists for a desperate mission. And the malevolent asteroid Xibalba spins closer on a collision course with Earth. But nothing is what it seems — a terrifying inhuman experiment is about to begin. Abandon all hope and experience ultimate horror in NAMELESS.
RoboCop 2014 #8 (BOOM! Studios)
War in the streets! With an officer dead and more bodies adding to the count, things have gotten personal. Taking down ED2000Xs and tearing through Killian’s men, RoboCop will not stop until this bloodbath comes to an end. As Killian takes to the press for protection, Detective Anne Lewis has only one target in her sights. Even if it means her badge and freedom, she will make him pay.
Saga #25 (Image Comics)
Saga is back, as is almost the entire cast! And as thanks to retailers and readers for helping our audience continue to grow every new arc, Fiona Staples created an amazing wraparound cover for this action-packed issue, which is still only $2.99, the best deal in comics!
Star Wars #2 (Marvel Comics)
THE GREATEST SPACE ADVENTURE OF ALL TIME CONTINUES! The Rebel assault on Cymoon 1 continues! Luke Skywalker — cornered by Darth Vader! Han, Leia, and the others — trapped!
Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #37 (IDW Publishing)
DESPERATE MEASURES! Four million years ago, as CYBERTRON teetered on the brink of all-out war, a group of Autobots decided it was time to take matters into their own hands. Everyone concerned would subsequently agree that this was a very, very bad move…