If you are a fan of the Facebook Page of this blog then you know I found this figure this past Saturday. If you’re yet to be a fan of the page – like it here – I try to give extra stuff and put stuff up as soon as I find it and such. That’s neither here nor there at this point though because we have a Maestro figure in 3 3/4 scale finally! Yes, the figure is based off the Contest of Champions rather than the classic style of the character. CoC wasn’t a bad read – I wasn’t all that interested at first but I had to take a peek as the Hulk (many versions) play a big part.
The oddest part is seeing Maestro – spoilers – defeated as his main thing is being too powerful to be taken down by anyone. But hey, a character too powerful to take down by anything is a pretty boring read. I thought the series was entertaining as heck and was sad to see it end at issue #10.
The Maestro figure we are served is still a great figure but I would kill for a Maestro with removable pointy crown. Ultimately, I’m still glad to be getting a Maestro figure no matter which version. I can’t say I would give it a thumbs up in adding it to your collection, unless, like me, you’re in too deep and can’t get out!
I told you this series sold like gangbusters – which it did – but I did not read it – which is true. Mostly… I did read and enjoy Future Imperfect and Planet Hulk. They were both hilarious, exciting and action packed – but, as always, paled in comparison to the original. I tried out Infinity Gauntlet – but could not make it through the first issue – as well as Old Man Logan – but disliked that one. A lot. Even though the original Old Man Logan was both well written and memorable the mini was forgettable and terrible. It did produce this MiniMates set – which features a very Maestro-esque Dystopia Hulk and Wastelands Wolverine.
With Secret Wars in full swing I thought we’d focus on the two stories central to the Hulk universe and what it possibly means for the future of our jade hero. With all the reports and the many rumblings about Banner no longer carrying the mantle of the Hulk it’s interesting to see that we have so many stories that are centralized around gamma creations. Let’s be honest, it’s all sort of depressing to think that the hero we all love, getting the attention he deserves once again since the 80’s, is being treated so oddly by Marvel. I know we always need to look to the future and that everything changes but sometimes it’s reassuring to have things be the same. Hulk has always been Banner and there is something unsettling to think that it will no longer be that way.
We’ve been through this before though, when Banner was “cured” and Rick Jones suddenly became the Hulk! That didn’t last long… thank goodness. The confusing recent years where the Hulk had the unfortunate doppelgänger who wasn’t even given a proper identity lasted way TOO long. Now, the future looks… oddly uncertain. What is the going to happen? Will it be good? Is it going to affect anything long term? Marvel seems to be switching to a “Seasonal” approach to their comics and I don’t have all the answers – but I am uncertain if I even want to be on board. More on that in later posts… but first, What is going on right now?
Well, Planet Hulk is sort of a confused event as it is more “Island Hulk” or “Continent Hulk”? Of course, Marvel knew it would sell better if they cashed in on the nostalgia of the most recent well received Hulk story lines so hence, Planet Hulk. This story, though, revolves around Steve Rogers and his… ummm, partner of sorts, Devil Dinosaur. Not much really happens in the first issue other than setting up what the Hulk section of Battleworld is. They focus on the Thor Corps sending Rogers to the land of Hulks. That’s right – there is an entire land of Hulks. The better part of this series is the added Amazing Science #15 at the end where Cho and Banner give us a better idea of where this land of Hulks came from.
The one thing I can not recommend more is Future Imperfect written by Peter David. The story opens with Ruby finding Odin in the desert – saving him and taking him to the Dystopia. Janice makes an appearance and you are instantly sent back to 1992 and the brilliant groundwork laid by Peter David’s original story. I am not going to give away too much – Slider, a mind reader, reveals that Odin is not Odin and then a classic match up is set up for next issue. I really don’t want to sat more than – pick this up and read the hell out of this comic! So worth it!
The art is amazing, of course, with Greg Land at the helm. Make sure buy this – and then tell a friend! Maestro – is as mean as you remember:
Planet Hulk: B- / Future Imperfect: A
Tell all of your friends, tell anyone you can, if they have ever read and enjoyed the Hulk then they should give the book another try because it’s just plain awesome. One of the things I try to gauge when reading an issue is am I looking forward to the next issue and Duggan serves that feeling up in spades. No matter any plot holes that there may be it’s easy to look past them and focus on the pure energy and entertainment of these issues. Duggan is kicking serious ass on this series and no one should be missing out. Just like Planet Hulk, I think this will go down in Hulk history as fun must-read! Let’s get into the good stuff, shall we? As always, spoilers abound – so stop reading if you don’t want to be in the know.
Doc Green comes banging on Kitty Pryde’s door. He needs her to do the impossible. Take out the Extremis that Stark put in there to save Banner. Kitty takes on this task with a lot of humor and succeeds in pulling out the mass. This sets off a massive bleed in Hulk’s brain, excruciating as it is though, Hulk survives it and thanks the girls. He leaves with another funny moment and we go back to Doc Green’s lab. He needs some rest. As we all know though, this isn’t going to be easy as every time Doc goes to sleep Banner takes over.
Sure enough Banner, doing his best Travis Bickle, starts to try and figure things out – including how to escape the lab. Doc has thought of everything though, and has the A.I. explaining that it’s best he let Doc Green take back the reigns. When Banner refuses Doc drops the news that if he doesn’t he will kill Betty Banner. Bombs are hidden in her house and he will detonate them. Banner concedes and Doc is back. We learn that he isn’t the kind of Hulk who bluffs as the bombs detonations are paused.
Doc’s dreams are little psychotic snippets of a future filled with super-hero parts, bloodied and beaten, lain all over. We even see a scared Rick Jones questioning the motives. There isn’t any. I horrific look into the future where Maestro is taking over the Hulk. Only, what should have scared the pants off of Doc Green only makes him more curious… and of course makes him want to grow a beard. Holy crap.
This is a quick read – one of the more sedated issues with no real action going on but still a lot is happening. It’s a ride and a half and Duggan is taking this Doc Green right to the edge. While you’re excited that this incarnation is taking care of business and making the gamma-family disappear (thank goodness) he’s also definitely not a hero. He is terrifying and doesn’t seem to want to reason or debate his motives. He will succeed in what his mission is and no one will sway him from that. Grade: A+ Go buy this book!
By this pic he tweeted out it would seem so!
I realized I never showed this off – but last year the Boston Comic Con invited two of my favorite artists who I’ve ever met. The first, Aaron Lopresti, will have to wait for another post – but the second has a reputation as one of the nicest men in comics. It’s well deserved too – the master, George Perez. He was gracious, funny, and super happy to have so many fans excited to meet him. One of the more impressive and memorable feats is the fact that he hardly ever asks for references – he’s drawn EVERYONE! He knows how to draw every character! Of course when I finally had my chance to meet him I could only think of having him draw one character.
George Perez, along with PD, created the Maestro – how could any Hulk fan want anything other than the evil, futuristic Hulk that he himself created the look of? This is far and away my favorite sketch cover I own. It will be hard to top this one!
Here is the Maestro – doing his best Blain impression.
Who out there got that reference? Come on! There has to be someone!