Wait, two days in a row of Hulk reviews?
Well, one is a future Hulk and the other is the present Hulk, so there is a difference.
Issue: Maestro: War and Pax #3
Writer: Peter David
Artists: Wilton Santos and Javier Pina
The Plot: The Pantheon managed to capture the Maestro. Can they kill him?
Commentary: There’s a somewhat unexpected swerve in this issue where it looks like the Maestro is brutally murdering the Pantheon. This is issue #3, the halfway point, and Dr. Doom (if it is Doom) is standing off to the side somewhere as the real villain…as much as any story about the dictatorial Maestro can have a “villain” when arguably the villain got his name in the mini-series’s title. So, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Maestro might murder his former allies this early and then deal with Doom over the last two issues. But the whole thing was done on the mental plain by the telepathic Paris in an attempt to somehow force the Maestro to turn back into Banner and put a bullet in his brain.
I normally don’t comment on how an issue ends, but this one concludes with Atalanta saying they need to find a way to keep the Hulk dead, so it looks like there’s a bit of the Immortal Hulk in this Hulk.
But really, this issue was about finding a weakness for the Maestro, a Hulk that never changes back into Banner under most circumstances. He does have one–and that I will refrain from mentioning–and it does fit in with David’s concept of what the Maestro is. There’s maybe some catch-up with the Pantheon, but arguably these guys weren’t that interesting to begin with. I mean, there’s probably a reason no one else really bothers with these characters, and I say that as someone who really enjoyed that era of The Incredible Hulk.
So, really, there’s a big fight that’s something of a fake out, the Maestro has a weakness unless he’s doing a damn good job of faking it, and that’s it. I really don’t have much to say about this issue.
Better Call Saul “JMM”
Comic Review: Something Is Killing The Children Volume 3
Noteworthy Issues: Unstoppable Doom Patrol #2 (April, 2023)