Even if you’re unfamiliar with comics, there are a handful of heroes that are familiar just by the nature of their presence in popular culture. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has certainly made strides in making household names out of the central cast, including the king of Rage and Fury himself: The Hulk.
If you’re a fan of the green giant, there’s a new comic out there that’s meant to shed some light on the origin story of one of Hulk’s greatest foes: himself!
That’s right, a disgruntled Hulk from a dystopian future, Maestro is a deadly combination of Bruce Banner’s intelligence with the strength and fury of The Hulk. After mankind all but wipes themselves out after a nuclear holocaust, The Hulk is kept in a dream-like state for an extended period of time.
Unfortunately, Hulk discovers the manipulation shortly after the comic begins.
After squaring off with his former allies in his dream, Hulk awakens to find himself strapped into a strange machine, seemingly designed to keep him in this dream-state. Not necessarily known for being even-tempered, The Hulk lashes out and finds himself confronted by a small force of security guards. While traditional guns had very little effect on our green friend, it seems as though technology has evolved quite a bit, as the lasers they use on him are quite effective, nearly causing him to black out.
Though he dramatically smashes his way through the floor and attempts to find another way out, he eventually encounters M.O.D.O.K – who appears to be running the facility.
MODOK explains the current state of the world to Hulk, including the fact that there was not only a nuclear war, but a follow-up bout of chemical warfare that further reduced the remaining population.
Hulk is disappointed and disgusted at the news. After all the work they did as heroes, mankind still managed to mess it up? MODOK suggests they go back underground and remain there for another 27 years or so until the radiation levels are low enough to rebuild…but Hulk has other plans.
So! We have a disappointed and disgruntled Hulk now contemplating what’s left of the miserable rock known as earth, and whether it’s worth it to try and rebuild society. No doubt we’ll be introduced to some less than savory actions on the part of our rage-fueled friend as he goes further down the path towards becoming the Maestro Hulk fans know and despise.
The art is solid, with the main drag on this issue being some slow-going narrative moments. The opening dream sequence went on just a bit too long, as well as Hulk’s navigation of the underground facility and scattered spats with security.
I’m not sure whether to be surprised at Hulk’s rather quick turn to discarding the remaining survivors and dismissing the idea of redeeming mankind. Having been burned before, it makes sense that Hulk wouldn’t necessarily be in a hurry to put things back together “Just so they can blow themselves up again…” as he puts it so elegantly on the closing page.
Overall, Maestro is proving to be another good avenue to get some more green in your comic diet – looking forward to how things pick up in issue 2!