The massive Battleworld saw unlikely team-ups — including Blade and Howard the Duck coming up against a duck version of Dracula.
One of the best elements of superhero worlds like the Marvel Universe is the sheer scope of characters and stories that can exist alongside each other — allowing for incredibly different figures to come against each other and even work together on occasion. This was never more prevalent than in the Secret Wars crossover, which featured plenty of reinventions of classic figures and paired them with surprising partners.
Secret Wars allowed for some truly bizarre turn of events — but perhaps the weirdest of all seemed to be the unlikely partnership between variants of Blade and Howard the Duck, who had to work together to save New Quack City from a vampiric infestation.
Secret Wars saw various realities from across the Marvel multiverse — which had been increasingly wiped out by waves of destruction caused by the Incursions — cobbled together into a new Battleworld by the godly empowered Emperor Doom. Each of these worlds became “domains” that remained under his control, full of unique variants of classic characters that could run into one another due to the shared nature of Battleworld. While the main Secret Wars series focused on the attempts of the last survivors of the original reality to rally the populace against Doom and find a way to restore everything, many of the tie-ins delved into these sectors.
In Secret Wars: Battleworld #2, this includes a venture into New Quack City, home to sentient duck characters like Howard the Duck. In the story “A Monster So Fowl” by David F. Walker, J.J. Kirby, and Matt Milla, Howard finds himself confronted with a visitor to his realm that he doesn’t often encounter: a human; or rather, a half human-half vampire in the form of Blade. A variant of the classic vampire hunter had made it his mission to venture across Battleworld and confront the various vampires that filled the numerous realms, giving him the chance to further eradicate multiple versions of his classic enemy. His travels eventually bring him to New Quack City.
Arriving in time to save a woman from vampire lord Drákula, Blade’s duel with the vampiric mallard takes them straight into a bar where Howard is trying to relax. Initially, Howard assumes Blade is just assaulting ducks for the fun of it and attacks him. Howard isn’t a match for Blade, but his mastery of Duck-Fu actually makes him a surprisingly formidable opponent. Unfortunately, their duel is interrupted by Drákula summoning his vampire hordes. But luckily, they received some unexpected help in the form of the Blade from this reality — who is also a duck and patterned after the Wesley Snipes version of the character from the turn of the century film trilogy centering on the character.
This duck variant of Blade even quotes the films before departing, leaving Drákula’s skeleton to rot. As the chaos settles, Howard and Blade make amends and even decide to grab a meal to celebrate — more or less becoming friends as they make their way through New Quack City. Even in a setting like Battleworld, seeing a team-up between Howard and Blade is something of a surprise. But it’s also fitting that two of Marvel’s more mature-orientated characters got the chance to actually team up, curse one another out, and then work together to fight against a common threat. With Blades’s help, the vampires of New Quack City weren’t able to fully spread and potentially endanger other realms of Battleworld — and in the process complicate the important mission other heroes find themselves in.
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