HOWARD THE DUCK
MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)
“When an alternate Thor turns earth into an intergalactic tourist destination, Howard the Duck arrives to join in the festivities.”
Oh man, is that a Howard the Duck figure? Like, on his own? Not packed with, like, a Silver Surfer, or something? That’s crazy. Is that allowed? I guess so. I mean, here’s the figure. So, you know, it exists.
Prior to his appearance in his self-titled, George Lucas-produced film in 1986, Howard the Duck began as a back-up feature in Adventure into Fear, headlined by Man-Thing of all characters. He was a breakaway hit, getting spun-off into his own series, and then getting the aforementioned movie, which was both a critical and financial failure. The character fell out of the spotlight after that, but resurfaced in the public eye for a cameo in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy film. He’s gotten a few more spots in the MCU since then, and got a little bit of actual focus in What If…?, which was enough to net him another figure.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Howard the Duck is figure 5 in the Khonshu Series of Marvel Legends. He’s the third What If…? based figure in the set. Interestingly, bio suggests the figure is based on “What If…Thor Were An Only Child?”, which is admittedly odd. While Howard *is* in that episode, and does get a little bit of focus, he’s far from important to the overall plot. On the flip side, “What If…T’Challa Became Star-Lord?” gives Howard an actual plot relevant focus, and is the episode of the two that’s gotten figure coverage already from Legends. It’s also just a much better episode. It’s all kind of irrelevant, I suppose, though, since his animation model’s the same across the board. Who am I to complain about specifically which episode I get my Howard the Duck action figure from? Also, the bios aren’t even on the box anymore, so the whole thing becomes increasingly irrelevant. The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. Howard’s articulation is on the lesser side of things. I mean, sure, he’s more posable than the *last* Legends Howard, but that one was just a pack-in, not his own figure. This one gets decent movement on the arms, okay movement on the neck and waist, and movement that barely counts as movement on the ankles. There’s nothing actually on the legs proper, which, with a lot of things on this figure, seems to be a licensing thing, since we know Disney’s very particular about Howard merch. The sculpt is all-new, and it’s fairly accurate to the source material, which is itself a pretty nice Howard the Duck design. The one notable deviation from his main look is the inclusion of the hat, which is its own piece, but is glued in place on the head, so it’s not budging. This again seems to be a licensing thing, since we know the Minimate was also required to have the non-removable hat. It’s a minor issue, and I’m curious to see how hard it might be to remove it with some modding. The color work on him is pretty basic; largely it’s molded in the proper colors, but there’s some paint work head and torso, which gets all the important stuff. Howard has no accessories of his own, but the pack also includes the disembodied head version of Scott Lang from “What If…Zombies?”, which doesn’t really have anything to do with Howard, but it offsets the smaller size of the figure. It also looks nothing like actual Paul Rudd (though I suppose it’s not a *terrible* take on the animated likeness), so it’s really only context that sells what it is. To further offset the core figure’s smaller size, there’s also the torso of Khonshu, complete with his robe, which is the largest piece of the Build-A-Figure by far. Like, to the point that, in the box, the torso is actually packed in the “figure” slot, and Howard is bagged up like one of the accessories. It’s kinda goofy, but I sorta love it.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I was honestly pretty excited about Howard, because he’s just such a rarity in the toy world, and harkens back to the earliest days of Legends. I tempered my expectations, of course, because the legal requirements always mess with the end product. With that in mind, I acknowledge that this guy’s got some definite flaws, but he’s also just still a lot of fun. Probably a bit pricey for what you get, but certainly more worthwhile if you’re after the Build-A-Figure. Honestly, the only part of this package I’m not really thrilled about it Scott, and that’s probably more to do with my general lack of enthusiasm about the episode that spawned him. But Howard’s definitely cool.
Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review. If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.