You remember, when Howard and Spider Jerusalem and the Saint of Killers all teamed up to fight Genesis after it bonded with Oprah. No? Did I spell all that correctly?

No, I sure didn’t. What I meant to say was that Howard the Duck (currently a mouse) and Splatter Gomorrah fight beside the Saint of Therapists when Deuteronomy bonds with Iprah. In 2002, Steve Gerber relaunched Howard the Duck to do what it does best: lance popular comics and popular culture. Witchblade, boy bands, the Department of Homeland Security, and, starting in the fourth issue, the Vertigo catalog.

Hellboozer, Anthrax Mystery Theater, Splatter Gomorrah, and the Interminables- Sleepy, Horny, Dicey, Ditzy, Mournful, Mopey and Doc- all residents of the Boarding House of Mystery that put up Howard and Beverly for the night. But all the bad Vertigo puns are just an excuse to use Preacher as a means to turn Gerber’s scrutiny from comics back to the real world. Splatter Gomorrah, renegade journalist, enlists Bev and Howard to assist him in exposing goody-goody TV personality Iprah “and her legion of the self-obsessed! Between her talk show, her therapies, her diets, and her syrupy spirituality, she’s convinced half of America she’s the Voice of God- when in fact she’s nothing more than a franchise- a marketing machine- Davy Crockett with psychobabble!” The perfect vehicle for a blend of “angel ovum” and “demon jizz” like Deuteronomy. Their bond has the power to shake the pillars of the Earth. God is on a bender (has been since Hitler) and can’t be bothered so the Saint of Therapists is woken up from a flying dream to handle things. Freud’s logic and Howard’s cynicism combined are just enough to save the world from an endless self-congratulation session. But not enough to save Howard, who, after frying the baby Genesis- er, Deuteronomy- is himself fried.

The whole thing leads up to Howard having a long walk-n-talk with God about the nature of existence. Gerber was one of the great, iconic voices of satire in comics. Howard the Duck was his venue to seamlessly blend what he admired with what he despised about both the comics industry and current events. Like many Marvel Max titles, Howard the Duck Vol. 3 is not widely known, but it is a master of jest playing with the gloves off. It is probably the best Howard material that Gerber worked on, but it wouldn’t be the gem it is if it wasn’t for the role Preacher played in the story, if it wasn’t for Howard the Duck playing the role of Preacher.