Mark Waid brings in artist Doc Shaner and colorist Matthew Wilson for “S.H.I.E.L.D.” #10, an issue that finds Howard the Duck in the service of S.H.I.E.L.D. Teaming up with Leo Fitz and Jeremiah Warrick (the owl-headed mystical S.H.I.E.L.D. specialist), Howard encounters the Legion of Howards. Waid’s creativity is on display throughout the issue, as he gives readers a legitimate S.H.I.E.L.D.-worthy adventure but also makes the story every bit a Howard the Duck comic.
The issue packs action, adventure and absurdity aplenty, including a new French-speaking antagonist who just might be the greatest adversary Howard has ever faced and the wand-bending weirdness of alternate realities. Waid makes Leo Fitz a fine foil for our favorite foul, playing the straight man through the oddities in these pages.
While Waid crafts a tale that brings together all sorts of story beats, Shaner gives readers a fun romp through surrealistic scenery as Howard is set upon the task of zipping up reality. Waid keeps the story balanced for readers and for Shaner, but the artist is able to grab moments of absurdity and improvise. The backgrounds throughout the issue are serviceable for the tale, but Shaner’s emphasis is truly on the characters and the storytelling throughout the panels.
Wilson provides an ample assist with colors in this issue, adding brilliant blues and popping pinks that give Shaner’s drawings an otherworldly element beyond the linework. Despite a meaty script, Caramagna keeps the art clean and slick, with masterful balloon placement throughout the issue. The choices Caramagna makes for the translated text from Ducanard are a fun throwback to comics of yesteryear but use the space intelligently.
A must-read for Howard the Duck fans, “S.H.I.E.L.D.” #10 is yet another fun done-in-one tale from Mark Waid with solid collaboration from his visual compatriots. This series has done a fine job bouncing through the Marvel Universe, sampling as need be and presenting the morsels in a manner quite like “Marvel Team-Up,” only with S.H.I.E.L.D. anchoring each installment. As a rewarding epilogue to a recent reality-bending event tale and an imaginative application of S.H.I.E.L.D. resources and personalities, “S.H.I.E.L.D.” #10 gives readers a comic that isn’t afraid to be both silly and serious.