Writer Peter David's legendary career has spanned hundreds of issues, dozens of comics icons, and decades. David breathes rarified air as a currently prolific and relevant writer who is also a veteran creator whose early work was on comics that would now be described as vintage. Known for his long-running character arcs, David returns to the series for which he is possibly best known, Marvel's Hulk, for an apocalyptic origin story of Maestro, the future version of Bruce Banner for whom everything went wrong. Joined by artists Germán Peralta and Dale Keown, colorists Jesus Aburtov and Jason Keith, and letterer VC's Ariana Maher, in Maestro #1 David paints a grim future for one of Marvel's most popular icons… and humanity as a whole.
Peter David's Maestro script has two parts, and it wouldn't be a spoiler to confirm that the opening of the story is not exactly happening in reality. It's obvious from the jump. The issue, packed with symbolism and dark commentary on the state of humanity, is very much a "What's going on?" start to the story, throwing readers into Hulk's shoes as he thrashes through visions and, once he's lucid, the laboratory that is separating him from who he thought he was and who he's about to become when he realizes what has happened to the world. This story stands alone and is compelling to new readers, but fans of David's Hulk run will find even more to enjoy with this issue. The final sequence between Hulk and his infamous captor, showcasing both a philosophical conversation and some creative vandalism, is especially inspired.
Maestro's two art teams, with Keown leading the opening scene and Peralta drawing the main narrative of the series, cleverly embody both moods at play here. Keown and Keith create a glossy, rendered, superheroic depiction of Hulk, while Peralta and Aburtov pull it back for a gritty, scratch, dirty flash of reality. All in all, the team creates an interesting addition to Peter David's legendary body of work. Now that we're all on board with what's happening to Hulk, watching what happens next come to fruition should elevate this story even further than this already intriguing first issue.