This is one of those stories that I read at least once a year. It’s that good! It has surprises and twists on practically every page – right down to Rick Jones “trophy” room filled with the fallen superheroes memorabilia. I will try to review the story without giving away too much – but it’s hard since everyone already knows who the Maestro is… Let’s begin with the obvious: This story takes place in a future devastated by a nuclear war where the land is ruled by an Evil dictator named Maestro. A group of rebels decide the best way to defeat the dictator is to bring the Hulk (who is the merged personality), through the use of Doom’s time machine, to face off against him. We meet Rick Jones Great, Great Granddaughter Janis – who is a bad ass! We also see Rick, still alive – just barely – and we learn it was his plan to bring the Hulk there. Now, the Hulk quickly makes an impact by defeating some of the Maestro’s soldiers and a cool looking robotic machine called a Dog O War. When the Maestro is alerted we get to meet him. A deranged, older version of the Hulk – who is not happy about having to leave his orgy… a great scene you have to see!
When the Maestro and Hulk meet up – they instantly recognize that they are faced with themselves. Unfortunately, for the Hulk, the Maestro is older, wiser – maybe even a bit stronger – but wost of all, he knows everything the Hulk is going to do – and the battle that follows is great – but ends with the Hulk getting his neck broken. But the story only gets better! While the Hulk heals the Maestro continues to mess with the Hulk – until a chain of events has the Maestro following a trail of Hulk’s blood – only to be faced with Rick Jones in the trophy room. There – one of the greatest showdowns ever – that results in Rick Jones death – and the Maestro being tricked into Doom’s time machine. When Maestro realizes where he is it’s both one of the most surprising and refreshing fulfilling endings to any mini-series! You have to read it to really appreciate it! Grade: A++