The Maestro, the Hulk’s evil world-conquering alter-ego that took over a post-apocalyptic world, is finishing up the last of his obstacles in this, the last of three origin mini-series.
I’ve been mildly disappointed so far.
Issue: Maestro: World War M #4, June 2022
Writer: Peter David
Artist: German Peralta
The Plot: It’s Giganto vs the Maestro!
Commentary: So, here’s the thing about this last mini-series, showing the Maestro going up against the combined forces of Namor, the original Human Torch Jim Hammond, the Abomination, and a very decrepit Dr. Doom: they aren’t exactly all working on the same page here. They each have different goals, and they never really came up with much of a plan beyond “let’s get the Maestro!” Namor was, until the accidental death of his wife and son, content to stay on the bottom of the ocean. Now he wants vengeance and doesn’t care how many people have to die to get it. Doom wants to conquer the Earth and can’t if Namor takes out what’s left of the human race. Hammond doesn’t seem to know what’s going on.
And the Abomination just wants to die.
What does all this say about the Maestro? Honestly, not much. These mini-series have been better about establishing the world of the Maestro moreso than the Maestro himself. I’ve been a lot more pleased with what writer Peter David has done with pretty much every other character except the Maestro. If anything, the Maestro often comes across as more lucky than powerful. Yeah, he’s mighty, but it doesn’t help when most of the people he picks fights with end up screwing up or, in this case, not even checking to make sure they were all on the same page before they attacked him.
So, when Namor brings the massive bipedal whale monster Giganto to attack Dystopia, how does the Maestro prevail? Well, he gets an assist from the Abomination, a minor one at that, and Doom teleports Namor away before the fight can end. The Maestro does make a single attack that does injure Giganto quite badly, but the monster leaves when Namor’s gone.
If anything, the best parts of this issue are seeing how freakin’ nuts Namor is, hallucinating both of his dead loved ones (who argue over whether he’s doing the right thing or not), and watching the Abomination basically decide no one else has to die but sucking at rescuing people. Then again, the Maestro doesn’t seem to care too much about collateral damage, so at least somebody is trying to keep the ordinary citizens of Dystopia alive.
This being the penultimate issue, the ending sets up a final confrontation as the onetime Hulk decides who to smash and who to maybe save (for now). I did like this final mini-series better than the previous two so far, but that’s mostly because there are no back-up stories that feel like a waste of time to pop up at the end of various issues and cut into the main story that I want to see more of.
So, I am guessing that Machine Man is basically just forgotten about for now?