I mentioned when I covered Future Imperect #1 in part 8 of this series that I had not read the original source material. It’s on a long list of “to reads” that I have, but I don’t believe you need to have read it to enjoy this series. I think all you really need to know is that The Maestro is an evil future version of the Hulk who has pretty much killed all the other heroes. (Edit: or not…see Tom’s comment…) He’s not a very nice guy.
After the break I’ll look at the remaining issues of this series: Future Imperfect #2, Future Imperfect #3, Future Imperfect #4 and Future Imperfect #5. Currently sitting in the number 14 slot in our Secret Wars Power Rankings, the series is a good read.
Future Imperfect #2
To answer the last question from my review for issue #1…no, that is not the Ben Grimm Thing. It’s actually persistent Hulk foe, Major Thaddeus Ross. This issue opens with an origin story that is a slant on the Fantastic Four go to space and get bombarded by cosmic rays to get their powers, with Ross becoming a Thing.
The majority of this issue is an epic battle between Maestro and the Ross Thing. While he puts up at least something of a fight, Ross is easily over-matched. It’s not long before Maestro literally pounds him into the ground.
When Ruby Summers attempts to help Ross, one of Maestro’s guards intercepts her and drags her away using a mechanical dog steed. But as it turns out, this guard is one of many that are actually working inside the Maestro’s palace that also want to see him ousted. She has come looking for Ruby for help. She being Layla Miller. Another Peter David favorite from his X-Factor days.
Speaking of Maestro’s palace, Ross Thing is now a prisoner there after his defeat. He and Masestro have an interesting chat. “We both want the same thing,” the Maestro informs him. “You want me out of Dystopia and I want to get out.” Ross is shocked. What could possibly drive Maestro to leave? Oh, only designs to kill Doom and take his place as the King of the World (Dicaprio style). Ross: “Tell me more.”
Future Imperfect #3
The Dystopian rebels don’t trust Lalya Miller…but she’s their only in into Maestro’s palace, so they have to take her at her word for now. Layla leads them with ease to where she believes the Maestro will be holding Ross. Layla looks like she’s double crossed them though when they arrive and Ross is nowhere to be seen. And to make matters worse, Maestro’s guards have tracked them down.
Layla once again proves she is on their side by calling her mechanical steed Jamie who single-handedly takes out the guards. Since Ross wasn’t in the torture area, Layla assumes he is dead. She gives the rebels a choice: get the hell out of there, or seek vengeance on Maestro? Since the last 2.5 issues would be pretty boring if they just went home, they choose to attack.
They easily make their way through the guards to Maestro’s main quarters. Once they bust their way in though, they find Ross, alive…and not too concerned about being rescued.
The rebels are in shock. Ross explains that he and Maestro have been talking and come to an agreement. With the rebels help they will obtain a weapon that will allow Maestro to rule the world and leave Dystopia to them: The Destroyer.
Future Imperfect #4
The path to finding The Destroyer brings our rag tag group to the underground lair known as Nornheim. It is there that lives Ulik, who, according to the book Maestro stole from Doom, can lead them to The Destroyer. Ulik is not in any mood to help though.
Ulik and his army put up a fight, but like all others before him, Ulik is beaten into submission by Maestro. He eventually relents and points them the way to The Ancient One who is the final stepping stone before Maestro reaches his goal.
Future Imperfect #5
So apparently The Ancient One is long time Hulk sidekick Rick Jones. I’ll admit, I had no idea who he was on the last page of issue #4. Tom says that he knew…maybe it is a side effect of him having read the original Future Imperfect. Or just simply Tom’s awesomeness.
The Maestro demands Rick to tell him where The Destroyer is. “Sure. Right over there. Go ahead and take it so I can get some sleep and then maybe catch up on Matlock. They have Matlock on Battleworld right? I’ve missed a lot sitting here for half a century in my pajamas. Oh, by the way, Doom is on his way to kill you. Toodles!”
The Maestro is suspicious that it is so easy. That he doesn’t have traverse an obstacle course in a bottomless cavern whilst carrying a glass of water without spilling a drop or anything. But he will not be denied and takes his chances. Jumping over the bottomless cavern to the place where The Destroyer rests. The Destroyer begins to glow and Maestro hears it “talking” to him. “It’s the beginning of the end”, Rick smiles and says.
Rick also wasn’t lying about Doom showing up. He arrives, and as The Maestro dons The Destroyer as armor and uses it’s power, the battle for Battleworld begins! It is an epic battle, but like he always does, The Maestro wins! Killing Doom and becoming the new God of Battleworld! I guess we don’t need those last four issues of Secret Wars.
But wait…everything is not as it seems. While the Maestro has won…his contact with The Destroyer caused his wish of defeating Doom to come true…but only in his mind. And now, as The Maestro reverts to his human form, he is trapped there for the rest of his life, thinking he is the ruler of Battleworld.