Howard the Duck 50th Anniversary special

Howard The Duck Anniversary Special Brings Back Marvel’s Most Obscure Villain

The multiverse of Marvel Comics features thousands of villains and their variants, many the weirdest of which were created to menace Howard the Duck. One such villain has returned for revenge on the Mighty Mallard — nearly 50 years after his last appearance.

Howard the Duck #1 features a number of What If…? (or Waugh If…?) stories centered around the feisty fowl. “Waugh If… Howard the Duck became the new Star-Lord?” by Merrit K and Will Robson teams Howard with the Guardians of the Galaxy. It also pits him against a forgotten enemy, Le Beaver.

Le Beaver in Howard the Duck #1

Le Beaver only appeared once, in 1976’s Howard the Duck #9. Le Beaver envisioned himself as the Captain America of Canada but turned to terrorism to try and force America to respect their northern neighbor. His scheme to dam Niagara Falls with an army of trained beavers ended in disaster, leaving him confined to a special exoskeleton. His one success was thwarting Howard’s presidential ambitions, yet even that ended with Le Beaver falling to his death at Niagara Falls.

The Waugh If…? story takes place in a reality where Le Beaver survived. He went on to join a support group for other Marvel villains who suffered the indignity of being bested by Howard the Duck. This leads him to form a new team of villains to take on Howard and the Guardians.

Marvel’s history of Canadian characters

Looking at the history of Marvel, it is not hard to see why Le Beaver never got a second outing until now. While Marvel has brought back many joke characters over the years, those characters were not based around a national stereotype. (It probably didn’t help that Le Beaver is not the French phrase for “The Beaver.”)

Since that time, Marvel has introduced a number of Canadian characters who far better represent the country and its values. Beyond the many heroes in Alpha Flight, there are Deadpool and Wolverine. There is even a new Beaver, who was part of a Canadian superhero team formed by Deadpool. She also only had one appearance, yet is still better remembered than Le Beaver.

Howard The Duck (2023) #1 is now available in comic shops everywhere.