Marvel's future history clearly explains that at some point, the powers of the world manage to blow themselves up without any supervillains or ridiculous costumes. That leaves only one radiation-powered being at the top of the heap of skeletons — the future version of the Hulk called the Maestro. Finally, with its creator at the helm, you can find out exactly what happened to change the arguably heroic alter ego of Bruce Banner into a despot, a tyrant, and a torturer. Maestro #1 is one seriously depressing book, but perhaps that's apropos given the subject matter at hand.
What's the issue? Well, in a sort of "read the room" sense, perhaps this wasn't the best time to release a dystopian version of how every hero you ever believed in failing in their core mission and how everything you ever loved will die, hard and ugly. This is a fine Hulk issue; this is a solid enough plot with skilled craftspeople doing their job at an effective level. The question is, even though the tale is well told, is it one you want to live in your head, especially now? Are the storytellers at play unwilling or unable to envision a future where it doesn't all end in tears? If these questions are too heavy for you, staring down elections and face masks, perhaps this subject matter might not be the brightly colored escapism you crave, but the bleak horror our actions and inaction, in many ways, prove we deserve. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
MAESTRO #1 (OF 5)
PETER DAVID (W) • GERMÁN PERALTA & DALE KEOWN (A) • Cover by DALE KEOWN
THE STORY YOU'VE WAITED DECADES FOR: THE ORIGIN OF MAESTRO!
Almost 30 years after the landmark story Future Imperfect, legendary INCREDIBLE HULK scribe Peter David returns to the far-future version of the Hulk known as Maestro — the master of what remains of the world. With astounding art from HULK veteran Dale Keown and up-and-comer Germán Peralta, Maestro will answer questions that have haunted Hulk fans for years — and inspire some new ones. How did the world fall and the Maestro rise? What happened to the world's heroes in between? And where is the Hulk we know and love? Find out here!