The Maestro, Hulk’s evil future self, is heading to Atlantis to destroy Namor, in the second issue of World War M, coming out in March 2022.
In the second issue of the final chapter of Peter David’s Maestro trilogy, the titular character is headed underwater to confront the King of Atlantis, Namor the Submariner. In World War M, coming out in February of 2022, the evil future version of the Hulk will take on the final obstacles on his path to world domination.
Created by Peter David and George Peréz in 1992 in The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect, the Maestro is a future version of Bruce Banner from an alternate timeline (Earth-9200) who possesses not only the strength of the Hulk and the intelligence of Banner, but also a malicious intent that turned him into a ruthless tyrant who took over the world after a nuclear war wiped out almost the entirety of the human race. A group of rebels led by Rick Jones reaches out to Earth-616 Hulk and uses him to defeat the Maestro, sending him back in time to the moment when the gamma bomb that created the Hulk exploded. Since the end of Future Imperfect, Peter David has revisited his character in 2020’s Maestro and 2021’s Maestro: War and Pax, two miniseries that revealed the origins of the character and his first steps as a tyrant. Now, World War M – written by Peter David with art by Germán Peralta – will be the final piece of the trilogy.
In Maestro, Bruce Banner survived the nuclear apocalypse by being kept in stasis by scientists of A.I.M. who wanted to study his natural resistance to radiation. After freeing himself, he travels to New York City, now called Dystopia, ruled by a tyrant who goes by the name Maestro, and is none other than his former friend/rival Hercules. The Greek god decided to rule over what is left of humanity after the calamity but is interested only in fights and women. Despite being outmatched in strength, Hulk manages to kill Hercules by poisoning him, and takes over the title of Maestro for himself, after surviving an assassination attempt by Rick Jones. This version of the Hulk, in fact, is the worst result of Banner’s abuse at the hand of his father and proves to be a much worse ruler than Hercules was.
War and Pax saw the Maestro taking out the Pantheon, A.I.M., and brutally defeating Victor von Doom. World War M will chronicle the final steps of the rise of the Maestro, showing his fight against an alliance of his last enemies standing: Doctor Doom, Namor, and Hulk’s long-time nemesis the Abomination, resurrected from the dead. In issue #2, he will bring the fight to his foes by diving deep into the Pacific Ocean. The covers revealed by Marvel Comics – the regular version drawn by Carlos Pacheco and the variant by Inhyuk Lee – show the Maestro fighting against a tentacular sea monster, and then against the King of Atlantis himself. In previous showdowns between Hulk and Namor, the latter proved to have the upper hand when fighting underwater, so it will be interesting to see how the Maestro will fare.
Peter David is recognized as one of the writers who defined the character of the Hulk, and the Maestro, along with the Future Imperfect storyline, is one of his most critically acclaimed creations. The writer declared that he relished the chance to expand on plot elements that have been rattling around his head for twenty years, so readers will be eager to have a look at this final iteration of the Maestro‘s tale.
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