Affinity Wars is the continuing battle between two heroes of similar type to see which will go blow for blow and stand victorious. Normally Nicole does these, and has successfully seen us through clashes between mariners and mystics alike. For my crack at overseeing the Affinity Colosseum, I wanted to try something a little different. They’re both from space, they’re both anthropomorphic, and they both have attitudes: this is the battle between Howard the Duck and Rocket Raccoon. Let’s meet the competitors. Howard the Duck Most probably know Howard as the titular character of the worst film of 1986, but there is more to this master of Quack-Fu than a disappointing film career. Howard debuted in Marvel’s Adventures into Fear (1973) as an ally to Man-Thing. Even after Howard got his own book, the character was primarily used as a device for parody and social satire by his co-creator and writer, Steve Gerber. In a universe full of masked crusaders and caped supervillains, Howard stands out as being a regular guy who just happens to be an anthropomorphic duck from outer space. Transported from his home planet, Duckworld, and the city of Duckburg, I mean, New Stork City, Howard has gone on a series of adventures, encountering strange characters and defeating villains, such as Doctor Bong. More often than not though, these altercations are due to Howard’s strange situation and an innate ability to find trouble. If he had his way, he would be happy to live out his life quietly in Cleveland, Ohio with his on-again-off-again girlfriend Beverly. None the less, Howard has fought crime in the past, both alone and with the help of other heroes. While the duck has no actual superpowers, he has always been able to hold his own through a combination of the deadly martial art, Quack-Fu, his intelligence, and leadership ability. At times, Howard has shown a bit of a talent for the mystical arts and, in fairness, one might consider his power to unintentionally cause trouble as a superpower, seeing as it actually got the U.S. government to disavow his existence during the events of Civil War. This duck is certainly a world class troublemaker, but can he make trouble for an out-of-this-world raccoon?
Rocket Raccoon Part Beatles reference, part anthropomorphic space cop, all bad-ass. Rocket Raccoon was created in 1976 by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen for the now defunct Marvel Preview magazine. Rocket’s origin story involves a planet-wide asylum, sentient robots, and a race of normal animals evolved to oversee it all. Of these animals, Rocket was head of security, but eventually left for adventure amidst the stars after a visit by the Hulk changed things on his planet. After that, Rocket showed up only sparingly, until the more recent Annihilation conflict brought many of Marvel’s space faring heroes out of the proverbial woodwork. As an instrumental part of Star-Lord’s team during Annihilation: Conquest, Rocket Raccoon went on to become one of the founding members of the reformed Guardians of the Galaxy. Just as Howard is an anthropomorphic duck that happens to be from space, Rocket is biologically a normal raccoon. He has no special powers, beyond intelligence uncharacteristic of a raccoon. That being said, on the battlefield he is a trained soldier and leader. A master of both weaponry and tactics, Rocket has been an indispensable part of his original team and the Guardians. Rocket may be the better soldier, and “Rocky Raccoon” is an infinitely better song than the theme to “Howard the Duck,” but is that enough to truly win against the fearsome fowl? Let’s find out.
A Battle of Fur and Feathers The easy answer to these imaginary fights is usually just to say that the two characters would have no reason to fight and it would end with an amicable parting of the ways or a super cool team-up story. I, for one, patiently await the day that issue hits stands, but, as long as this is theoretical, it is not actually that difficult to imagine these two finding themselves in a scrap. Combining Howard’s knack for getting himself into hot water and Rocket’s itchy trigger-finger certainly has the makings of some sort of fight. Of course, then it comes down to armaments. Rocket always has some sort of weapon at his side, while Howard typically only has a cigar and his feathery fists. A bullet to the beak is all Rocket would need to end the fight fast, but he’s a Guardian of the Galaxy. Blatant murder isn’t much in line with guardianship. Hand to hand is another story. Both of these guys are scrappers. They are small and quick. Between the two of them, Rocket would have the advantage in speed and reflexes, but if he did agree to disarm, then Howard could come at him with his mastery of Quak-Fu. While Rocket is no great stranger to close quarters fighting, his real expertise is in marksmanship. Giving up his arms as a matter of honor could be his undoing, if he doesn’t know to stay on the defensive. The real strength these characters possess is not in their fists or their holsters though; it’s in their friends. Despite their small stature, these two have some massive friends who would be willing to come to their aid. On Howard’s side is the only mainstream mention we are going to see here, She-Hulk, and Man-Thing, the immortal protector of the Nexus of All Realities. Rocket would have the aid of his fellow Guardians, including members such as Gamora, the so-called “Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe,” and Drax the Destroyer, a being created with the sole purpose of killing Thanos. A fight between these titanic characters would bring whatever world they happen to be on to complete ruin. Honestly, that is just too much of a headache for Howard. After a few blows are traded, Rocket avoiding Howards martial arts as much as possible while regretting his decision to lay down his weapons, Howard would remember that he can’t even pay the rent that month, let alone pay for the medical bill he’s going to incur when all this is done. He’ll apologize to Rocket, try to sort out what went wrong, and contritely offer him a cigar. Rocket will decide the whole thing isn’t worth the effort when they have bigger menaces to fight among the stars. When Howard hears that he’s planning on going out into space, he would ask if they had any way of passing between dimensions, as well, in hopes that he might be returned to Duckworld. Rocket would have to say that he doesn’t know about Duckworld, but that Howard would fit in with the animals he left behind on his own planet. Howard would consider this briefly, before deciding it wouldn’t be worth the effort to acclimate to another planet all over again. His generous offer denied, Rocket would passive-aggressively return Howard’s cigar, saying he was not much of a smoker anyway. With peace made and not a cigar wasted, Howard would consider the conflict to be a win. Victoriously, he would return home to check the “Want Ads” with Beverly. Agree? Disagree? Let us know. If you haven’t seen any of the previous wars, be sure to check those out, as well, and decide where you think these other fights might go. Doctor Strange v. Doctor Fate Raven v. Emma Frost Aquaman v. Namor Captain America v. Punisher