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Howard the Duck

What If...?
by yo go re

What if... Thor Were an Only Child?

When an alternate Thor turns Earth into an intergalactic tourist destination, Howard the Duck arrives to join in the festivities.

I legitimately forgot which episode Howard the Duck showed up in on What If...?. Considering almost every other figure in this series is from the zombie one, I thought maybe Howard was, too; after all, he did appear in the Marvel Zombies comic, with a pretty memorable role (though it's a pretty safe bet that the Disney+ cartoon wouldn't be allowed to feature Ash Williams). In addition to the Party Prince Thor reality, he was also in Star-Lord T'Challa's adventure, both times voiced by Seth Green, who also does the voice for several of Marvel's other cartoons. Pretend they're all the same duck, just getting shunted around between dimensions. Stranger things have happened to him.

Since MCU Howard is CGI rather than an animatronic costume that needs to be worn by a real human being, his proportions are more... ducky. You know, a narrow body, a very thin neck, etc. There are tufts of feather poking out on his cheeks and the back of his head, and he's got a fedora sitting at a rakish, Sinatra-like angle up on top of his head. His expression looks like detatched annoyance, with heavy brows and a slight frown... or maybe that's just how his species is shaped? He's got resting bird face.

Even with his hat, Howard is only 4⅜" tall. He's wearing a little brown suit, but no shoes, so we can appreciate his webbed feet. The figure has swivel ankles, a balljointed waist, swivel wrists, swivel/ hinge elbows, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed neck. Better than the last Howard! The problem is, he's so short, he's going to need to look up at all the other figures; but if you tip him back far enough to do that, he falls over backwards. Same problem as Spider-Ham. The set needs a stand to plug his feet onto.

This set is either a two-pack, or it's got one heck of an included accessory! Part of the reason I wondered if Howard might be from the "What If... Zombies?!" episode is the friend he's sharing package space with, Ant-Man! Or Scott Lang, I guess, since "Ant-Man" is the suit, not the guy, and it's not like he can still shrink or talk to insects or crack his knuckles or digest food. He, taking a cue from Janet Van Dyne in the original Marvel Zombies, is just a head. Not a zombie head, a human head. Living in a jar. How is he staying alive like that? Must be the platform he's resting on, somehow providing him blood flow and respiration and so forth.

Animated Scott Lang doesn't really look much like Paul Rudd - at least, not as much as the actors for the other characters do. Maybe he was designed at a different time? The clear dome is removable, though there's no articulation for the neck. If you take that off, though, you're then able to fit the Cloak of Levitation on him! Shame the indent in the bottom of the base isn't deep enough to accommodate a flight stand, though.

I was startled when people unironically nominated Hasbro's new Marvel Legends packaging for Worst of the Year in the ToY Awards. I mean, no offense to the Jurassic Park Kitchen Encounter set, but Hasbro ditching plastic was the unquestionably best trend of 2022. (I was overruled.) [damn right you were --ed.] "You can't compare paint!" This isn't 2007; when was the last time you actually needed to compare paint on a Marvel Legend to ensure quality? "Swapping theft is easier!" Okay, so if you bought it online that didn't actually happen, and if you bought it in person, take it back and get a correct one. "It's not friendly to MOC collectors!" ...and? You say that like it's a bad thing. I bring it up in this review because of the way things are packed: usually the main figure is in the center of the inner cardboard frame, with the BAF pieces tucked into one of the sides; here, the BAF piece (Khonshu's torso) is so big, it goes in the center and the actual figures are the ones hidden on the side. That would never have worked in the old boxes.

Including Howard Duckson and Scott Lang here honestly feels less like an actual release and more like a glorified accessory pack - like Hasbro knew there was no way to budget Khonshu's body and a real character into the spot, so they threw this little oddity together. So it goes. At least all three pieces are cool in their own ways.

-- 01/15/23

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