The Hulk travels to a Future Imperfect to meet his evil alter ego!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

A blast from the past made his hulking presence felt this week as writer Ed Brisson and artist Mike Deodato launched their first issue of OLD MAN LOGAN. Ever since we first glimpsed the Deodato-drawn cover with Maestro, a future version of Hulk, throwing down with the elder incarnation of Wolverine, we’ve been waiting to see what happened and now it’s finally here! In true Flashback Friday tradition, though, it’s time to hit the rewind button and head back to 1992’s INCREDIBLE HULK: FUTURE IMPERFECT two-issue prestige format series by Peter David and George Perez.

The series kicked off by dropping us into Dystopia, a city about a century in the future in the middle of a wasteland run by the feared Maestro. Janis, however, wanted to put a stop to that, so she and her band of rebels stole Doctor Doom’s time machine and recruited a little help in the form of The Incredible Hulk! At that point, the Jade Giant spent his time running around with Bruce Banner’s intelligence and Hulk’s bulk.

After tangling with some of Maestro’s goons, Hulk met a very old Rick Jones who kept a museum celebrating all of the dead heroes. The former sidekick soon explained that a war had devastated the planet, killing many of the heroes in the process and paving the way for Maestro’s rule. All the radiation and death swirling around after the major conflict drove Hulk a bit crazy, eventually turning him into Maestro. He built some dampeners that allowed people to survive in Dystopia and then basically just used humanity to entertain himself.

Hulk: Future Imperfect (1992) #1

Hulk: Future Imperfect (1992) #1

  • Published: December 10, 1992
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: December 04, 2009
  • Writer: Peter David
  • Penciler: George Perez
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That didn’t sit well with the younger Banner. Maestro won the first battle between the titans, breaking his counterpart from the past’s neck in the process, but keeping him alive to wage further mental warfare. That all played nicely into the plan crafter by Hulk, Janis, and her people which involved tunneling into Maestro’s stronghold and getting the drop on him. The two Hulks tussled once again, this time in Jones museum, so artifacts like Captain America’s shield and Wolverine’s skeleton came into play.

Ultimately, Hulk used his smarts to lure Maestro back towards the time machine, which he used to send the tyrant back to that fateful day when Bruce Banner ran out to save Rick Jones from an exploding gamma bomb. This time, Maestro stood right next to the bomb as it exploded, seemingly killing him in the process.

Flash Forward

Of course, we know that’s not how it works in comics! Maestro first returned in the pages of 1998’s INCREDIBLE HULK #460 by David and Adam Kubert. As Bruce mentally dealt with various important people in his head, Maestro appeared to tell him that his corpse acted as a kind of beacon that kept bringing Banner back to the original bombing location. Each time, Maestro absorbed a bit more of that all-important radiation which helped him return at the end of the issue. In the following chapter, the villain sent his consciousness into a Destroyer that he used to fight Hulk. Ultimately, Bruce used his mind to battle Maestro for control of the Asgardian artifact, which lead to a victory for the good guy!

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Two time-displaced titans clash as Ed Brisson and Mike Deodato take over!

Hulk and Wolverine have never really gotten along. In fact, the Canuck with an Attitude’s first foray into the four color world involved him clashing with ol’ Jade Jaws.

Unfortunately, OLD MAN LOGAN #25 will show that age and wisdom do not always go together as Logan and Maestro—the alternate world fascistic genius Hulk introduced way back in HULK: FUTURE IMPERFECT—meet up and decide that one truly can never be too old to take a poke at an old antagonist.

Writer Ed Brisson and artist Mike Deodato have come onboard the book to push these two aging titans into swinging at each other once more. We caught up with Brisson who gladly took a break from stirring the proverbial plot to tell us all about it.

Marvel.com: Given the history of antagonism between Wolverine and Hulk, bringing Maestro into the book is one of those choices that seems so right, one is surprised it never occurred. For you, what made the idea of bringing Maestro into the book creatively exciting? What made you believe it would “work” in the context of OLD MAN LOGAN’s tone and pacing?

Ed Brisson: What makes it immediately interesting for me is that you have these two future versions of big Marvel characters who’ve both seen the world go to pot in similar ways, but have adapted to those changes very differently. For one, the future is nothing but pain and loss; the other, the future is his playground.

Now, they’re both here in the present and about to come face-to-face.

Because Maestro appears to be rolling with his own Hulk Gang, including at least one member that Logan has dealt with before, Logan’s chief concern is that the future that he thought he had been prevented—his own future—may be coming to fruition. Once we learn of Maestro’s plans, it becomes clear that he might not be wrong. It soon becomes a battle between them: one man trying to prevent his future, while another tries to bring his into being.

Marvel.com: We’ve seen how being in the mainstream Marvel Universe has affected Logan over the course of the previous 24 issues, but we’ve only really seen Maestro in the pocket of CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS. How does his transition affect him? How, if at all, does it change his perspective or attitude?

Ed Brisson: When Maestro shows up, he’s a man with a plan. He’s been displaced from his own future and timeline and, for reasons to be explained, can’t go back. He’s now in the mainstream Marvel Universe, present day, but has 100 years of baggage and memories regarding humanity and how they treated him and how they eventually undid themselves. To him, man doesn’t deserve this planet. He’s ruled it—in his timeline anyway—for years just fine and doesn’t see any reason why he can’t do the same again.

So, that’s his goal here. But, he’s not going to come in guns-a-blazing. He’s looking to do this on the low. He’s trying to stay off the radar and play the chess pieces so that man, once again, undoes himself.

Marvel.com: For Logan, the Hulks he’s most used to are the Hulk offspring from his future. What is Logan’s experience of encountering this smarter, more singularly ruthless version of the Jade Giant from a psychological standpoint? How would you say this conflict between these two compares to the mainstream Hulk vs. Wolverine throw downs we’ve seen before?

Ed Brisson: Both of them have seen the future—albeit two different, though equally depressing futures. For each, the future hangs in the balance and they’re fighting to prevent it, in Logan’s case, or bring it about, in Maestro’s.

Maestro is also larger and smarter than the Banner that Logan is used to dealing with. He’s not some hillbilly hiding out in a cave pumping out Hulk babies. He’s got laser focus and the drive to bring about what he wants. And, he’s not going to be stupid about it. He’s not just a couple of fists, smashing everything in sight. He’s got a plan and knows that the best way of carrying out that plan is by keeping a low profile. Or trying to, anyway.

As mentioned, Maestro has a Wasteland Hulk Gang with him. At the end of the original [“Old Man Logan” story], it appears Logan has wiped them all out, so it comes as a bit of a shock when they pop up here. People are going to have to read the series to find out the whys and the hows of it, but I think that we’ve come up with a very logical reason for how they’ve come to exist here. They may initially seem to be very much like the old Hulk Gang, [but] there are a few behind-the-scenes complexities that will come out to show how different they really are.

Marvel.com: How has working with artist Mike Deodato helped you to realize the tone and atmosphere of the book you were hoping for? How, if at all, did his style inform your approach to the title?

Ed Brisson: When they told me that Mike was going to be on the book, my head nearly exploded. I’ve been a fan of his work for years now.

Mike’s a very smart artist and was able to come on board and nail down the feel we were going for right away. Just about every day a new page pops into my inbox and I just sit there and soak it up over my morning coffee. Everything is just so brilliantly laid out and acted.

In terms of informing how I approach the book, I think that working with him has made me pull back on a few pages, in terms of panel count, so that Mike has some room to do some really big and incredible action sequences. There are some pretty spectacular scenes in the first issue that I think are really going to sing because he’s got that room to breathe.

Marvel.com: Looking beyond the conflict itself, what can you tell readers about what you have planned for the book when you take over? What are some of the plot points you want fans to know to ensure they make the book one of their can’t misses?

Ed Brisson: Jeff Lemire has been writing an incredible series here, so I’m assuming that it’s already on everyone’s pull list!

Through this first arc, we really wanted to play on Logan’s anxieties. His greatest fear is that his future will somehow still rear its ugly head, but, over the past 24 issues, we’ve seen him getting comfortable in his new setting. He’s never going to be completely at home, but still…bit-by-bit, he’s settling into the new life. He’s letting people get close to him again. So, we wanted to bring his past—our alternate future—and drop the very possibility of it happening again right in his lap.

Aside from Maestro being here, we’re going to see a lot of echoes from Logan’s time in the Wasteland. A few familiar faces will be popping up.

Beyond the first arc, we’ve got a few plans to keep Logan in this state of agitation. Keeping him in a place where he can never be fully comfortable for fear of his past catching up with him.

Ed Brisson and Mike Deodato take control of OLD MAN LOGAN with issue #25 this June!

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Writer Al Ewing discusses the malevolent Maestro and his role in Contest of Champions!

It has been said you cannot teach an old dog anything new, but the Maestro repeatedly proves this adage nothing but empty cliché and him far from a canine. As the biggest bad on the block in CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS, the jaded giant has shown himself to be more than adaptable.

CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS writer Al Ewing helps explain what makes the Maestro such a deadly and compelling character…

A Rich and Fascinating History

The Maestro, introduced in 1992, made an immediate impact on the comics landscape with HULK: FUTURE IMPERFECT, a story that put “our” Hulk up against an alternate world version in a post-apocalyptic landscape. Immediately embraced by fans, the Maestro proved a frightening vision of what Bruce Banner might someday be.

That history proved a burden that Ewing took both seriously and as a tremendous inspiration. He recalls, “I’m a huge fan of the Peter David INCREDIBLE HULK run—one of the mostly fondly remembered comics from when I was younger—so there’s a certain joy in getting to write the character, along with an obligation to get it right, or as right as I can.”

Best (or Worst) of Both Worlds

“He’s a version of the Hulk with all Bruce Banner’s intelligence and all of the Hulk’s strength—and a little more of both,” warns Ewing. “There’s [cleverness] to him. He’s always thinking—there’s always cogs whirring in that bald green dome of his. Generally, schemers are a bit weedy and powerhouses tend to think with their fists, so Maestro does get to be best of both worlds.”

Contest of Champions (2015) #6 cover by Paco Medina

Contest of Champions (2015) #6 cover by Paco Medina

He Has No Conscience

“What’s missing is any kind of conscience or empathy,” Ewing contends. “Maestro’s essentially a psychopath who doesn’t give a damn about anything or anyone but himself; and he’ll smash anything that gets in the way of his own lust for power.”

Not Without Weaknesses

At his core, he’s still the Hulk. That deep-down gamma rage might end up going against his more careful instincts. Plus, while he forms alliances—most recently with Punisher 2099—he’s not someone who really makes friends or gels with a team. So it’s possible that a mish-mash group of doomed anti-heroes thrown together in a realm outside normal space and time might be able to get the drop on him.

Patience

A lesser villain would succumb to his ego’s desire to be seen as number one. The Maestro, however, can deal with being the Collector’s lackey for a time as it brings him that much closer to his goals. He’s sure he will be in a position worthy of his name eventually so he has no problem biding his time until then.

Ewing elaborates: “[CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS #6 shows] how the Maestro ended up working for the Collector after Secret Wars, and then revealing the scheme he’s been plotting since the first issue. What that scheme gets him, you’ll have to read the comic to find out, but Maestro fans probably won’t be disappointed. It raises the question: if the Maestro got all the power he wanted…what would he do with it?”

Learn more about the Maestro in CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS #6, on sale March 23!

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Your first look at Secret Wars Minimates from Diamond Select Toys!

The Secret Wars are upon us! With Earth transformed into a fractured Battleworld as various regions are pulled from a variety of alternate realities, DST has created an assortment of Marvel Minimates that spans the globe!

From the Armor Wars world of Technopolis, Iron Man 2020 faces off with Ultron from the Age of Ultron’s Perfection! From the Wastelands, Old Man Logan takes on Dystopia’s Maestro Hulk from Future Imperfect! From the world of Arcadia, A-Force’s Captain Marvel teams up with the new Thor of the Thor Corps! And finally, A-Force’s Dazzler partners with New Quack City’s resident detective Howard the Duck!

Each two-inch Minimates mini-figure has up to 14 points of articulation and features fully interchangeable parts and accessories. Each two-pack comes in a full-color window box. Designed by Art Asylum, look out for these mini-figures this Fall 2015! For more from Diamond Select, visit their website.

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The battle for freedom begins in these preview pages by Greg Land!

Hulk is the strongest there is! Now, he’s the smartest, most calculating, ruthless villain there is too! This June, ask yourselves – can anyone stop the Maestro?

That’s the question when the oppressive lord of Dystopia comes to Battleworld for FUTURE IMPERFECT #1! Legendary writer Peter David returns to the nuclear ravaged wastelands he made famous alongside artist Greg Land for an explosive all-new Secret Wars tale! Now calling himself the Maestro, the Hulk stands triumphant over the world’s heroes and villains having bested them all! Ruling his domain on Battleworld, his gamma-fisted tyranny knows no bounds. Can anyone stop him? Nobody knows – but that won’t stop a small band of rebels led by X-FACTOR from trying!

The battle for freedom begins this June in the bombastic pages of FUTURE IMPERFECT #1!

FUTURE IMPERFECT #1 (APR150803)
Written by PETER DAVID
Art & Cover by GREG LAND
Variant Cover by DALE KEOWN (APR150804)
Ant-Sized Variant by DALE KEOWN (APR150805)
Ingwenible Hulk Variant by NICK BRADSHAW (APR150806)
FOC – 05/11/15, On-Sale – 06/03/15

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Meet the menace of Maestro in this 90's classic!

It’s time to face facts, true believers – the 90’s were awesome. The pouches were plentiful, the costumes were impractical, and Marvel Universe dentists made a fortune correcting damages caused by perpetually gritted teeth. Thanks to the power of nostalgia, though, what would once be considered extremely embarrassing can now be called extremely awesome!

With that in mind, we’ve pulled a Marvel comic from the not-so-modern era and broken it down, one choice fact at a time! This week we’re singling out HULK: FUTURE IMPERFECT #1 by Peter David and George Perez. Here’s “Future Imperfect” by the numbers!

Hulk: Future Imperfect (1992) #1

Hulk: Future Imperfect (1992) #1

  • Published: December 10, 1992
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: December 04, 2009
  • Writer: Peter David
  • Penciler: George Perez
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Over 100 citizens of Dystopia in one double page spread

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

 

24 masks, helmets, heads and visors in one double page spread

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

 

18 orbs around Maestro’s neck

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

 

14 visible horns on Maestro’s helmet

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

 

13 urns

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

 

11 laser beams bouncing off of Maestro

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

 

1 pointing Hulk

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

Art from Hulk: Future Imperfect #1

 

For more Maestro, check out HULK: FUTURE IMPERFECT on Marvel Unlimited and check out the new FUTURE IMPERFECT coming this June to Secret Wars!

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Learn more about the familiar face in this week's 'Marvel's Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.,' airing Sunday morning!

The Hulks come face-to-face with the mysterious Maestro in a clip from this week’s “Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.”! Watch the clip above and tune in for the new episode this Sunday at 8:00 a.m. ET on Disney XD.

While trying to figure out a way to prevent a meteor from hitting Earth, the Hulks encounter a strangely familiar astronaut. When they question his identity, the astronaut reveals himself as Hulk from the future! This future Hulk claims that the meteor collided with Earth and scientists in the future sent him back in hopes of helping the Hulks prevent the disaster. Watch the clip above to see if the Hulks can trust him!

Tune in to a brand-new episode of “Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.” this Sunday at 8:00 a.m. ET on Disney XD! Stay tuned to Marvel.com for all the latest on all of your favorite Marvel animated series.

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Peter David returns to one of his greatest Hulk stories, plus Maestro invades the Contest of Champions mobile game!

Starting this June, Peter David brings the distinctive land of Dystopia alive again as part of the diverse Secret Wars landscape in FUTURE IMPERFECT. As he and editor Mark Paniccia reveal, while readers might think they know what to expect from the Maestro—future incarnation of the Hulk and antagonist of the classic original story—the stakes and plans surrounding this Warzones! tie-in prove far different than his past campaigns.

“Dystopia is the one place in the desert that has population and a market,” notes David. “It’s pretty much the only city around. There are other areas where people live and try to put together existence, but Dystopia is really the only place where people actually live in the city and it is overseen by the Maestro.”

Paniccia adds: “Let me tell you it’s great to see Maestro in his home turf. Peter is having a lot of fun with this and it shows. Ditto for artist Greg Land who is having a blast with the battle sequences.”

Fans of David’s X-FACTOR will delight to learn Ruby Summers figures prominently in FUTURE IMPERFECT. In structuring this new series, the writer quickly considered the timeline in which the story exists and the characters who could logically still be around and alive at that future point.

“I immediately thought of Ruby Summers since that would be roughly about the time that she was around.”

David also shares that other descendants from his legendary INCREDIBLE HULK and X-FACTOR runs definitely will be appearing.

While not willing to reveal any further details, Paniccia admits: “There’s a great twist coming in issue #2. Just the kind of fun stuff you can do with an event like this. Peter’s taking advantage of the freedom we’ve got to give readers things that are familiar but also surprising. The kind of stuff that makes comics fun!”

Future Imperfect #1 cover by Greg Land

Future Imperfect #1 cover by Greg Land

Over David’s career the list of his artistic collaborators can best be described as awe-inspiring, which makes his praise of Land’s work all the more impressive.

“They just sent me the final inked version of the first issue of FUTURE IMPERFECT and I was blown away by how great his work looks,” he touts. “I mean, it’s just fantastic.”

Paniccia hoped for that exact reaction when teaming the two creators on FUTURE IMPERFECT.

“I knew Peter was going to dig Greg’s work on this and when the first pages came in I kind of smiled to myself because I knew they were going to make Peter smile,” he says. “A smiling Peter is always a good thing.

“Greg is one of my favorite artists and I think he’s done an amazing job on this,” the editor notes. “A lot of that has to do with what Peter has given him to draw. Greg loves super heroes and I told Peter to make sure Greg got a heaping helping of smashing and clobbering. I got a call right after Greg read the first script and he was so excited, like a kid in a candy store. It was cool to hear how jazzed he was.”

The editor also thinks fans will be awed at the work of colorist Nolan Woodard.

“He is approaching Greg’s stuff a little differently than what fans are used to,” he previews. “It’s gorgeous work, a unique palette that’s very complementary to Greg’s style and really gives the book a stand out look.”

However, while Maestro will make his mark as part of FUTURE IMPERFECT this summer—not to mention in upcoming issues of HULK—the tyrant has already found his way into another Marvel universe: the “Marvel Contest of Champions” mobile game from Kabam!

“The Maestro is much too powerful to be just a contestant,” says Art Director Gabriel Frizzera of his role in the game. “He is a cunning warrior, but also a conqueror, and a manipulator. His plans are much deeper than simply defeating all heroes in the Marvel Universe in battle—that’s all I can reveal.”

“We needed that kind of escalation when it comes to the big bosses,” shares Sam Humphries, writer of “Contest of Champions” as well as the upcoming STAR-LORD & KITTY PRYDE. “Oh, you think Kang is tough? Well, here’s Thanos for you. Thanos is pretty epic, but how about the evil, deranged Hulk from Future Imperfect?

“There’s a curveball element to it as well; the Maestro is not usually grouped with cosmic heavy hitters. We think he’s got that epic potential to him—oh and also he’s a bad ass.”

Maestro in Marvel Contest of Champions

Maestro in Marvel Contest of Champions

When it came to re-imagining Maestro for battle with Marvel’s greatest heroes, Kabam! tweaked their visual approach while staying true to the despot we love to hate.

“We love the classic Maestro design by George Perez, but we wanted to something a bit different for our version,” Frizzera notes. “While the Maestro in the original Future Imperfect story was the ruler of the Earth, ours is posed for multiversal domination, so we wanted his battle armor to reflect that upgraded status. The Maestro also has a habit of collecting trophies from fallen enemies, so we designed the new armor to be composed of stolen tech from many Marvel characters. Fans will recognize bits and pieces from Iron Man, Ultron and others integrated into the design, and also many of the weapons from other champions.”

“He’s smart, he’s strong, and he’s angry,” warns Humphries. “Also, in some ways, he’s the ultimate fan. You think you got a lot of Avengers merch? Well, Maestro’s got Cap’s shield and Iron Man’s helmet! Beat that!”

Follow the latest updates on Secret Wars daily on Marvel.com and via our social channels, plus play “Marvel Contest of Champions” today!

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