by Peter David, Greg Land and Nolan Woodard
The Maestro is one of those characters that have left a lasting impression and, frankly, whenever Marvel drags him back into the spotlight—like recently in Spider-Man 2099—it’s one of those things that you can’t miss. So the fact that we’re now going to get a book that focuses on him, more or less, might be one of the big highlights of Secret Wars so far. Seriously, have you seen this guy in action? If you know the world he comes from, or the universe to be more precise, you’ll know that he’s one of those characters that have the potential to be a major player in this new Battleworld and any and all new possibilities are nothing short of exciting.
Peter David, who just came off a rather stellar run on Spider-Man 2099, throws us right into Dystopia, Greenland which is ruled ruthlessly by Baron Maestro. What? What more do you need than that to pick up this book? Okay, okay, fine. David’s introduction to this city is an interesting one and he even manages to pull a fast one with one of the characters we meet in the first few panels. Actually, okay, yeah it was surprising, but also a little bit disappointing just because of who the character is and what it could potentially mean for Battleworld… but we’ll let you experience that one out for yourself. It’s hard to say who can challenge Maestro, especially if you’re aware of his trophy room, but the choice at the end of the book might be one of the best. It looks like David pulled from earlier in the timeline for The Maestro’s opponent and if that doesn’t give you the chills you might be a lost cause.
Greg Land has had some ups and downs in his career—the beginning of the new Iron Man from Marvel NOW! comes to mind as a major down—but recently he’s come back and done better work and in the end that’s all we can really ask of him. Future Imperfect’s art is certainly on the positive side for Land and he hits all the right notes along the way. The Maestro is beastly and intimidating, and the characters Peter David is introducing here all look great, particularly some of the expressions in the first few pages between Ruby and the mysterious other stranger she comes across. There’s a panel where she’s trying to make sense of the information she’s getting that stands out amongst those first few pages where Land just absolutely nails down her expression. Really, this might be the best work that this reviewer has seen from Land in the last handful of years.
Colorist Nolan Woodard’s work, of course, really help to elevate the pencil and ink work that Land produces here. From the amazing palette used for Ruby to give her that shine to the green of Maestro that just pops off the page, Woodard’s work on Future Imperfect really shines. If these two can keep up work like this one, Future Imperfect will certainly become one of Marvel’s best new books because not only will it look great but, come on, The Maestro. This character is just the perfect mix of Hulk, Banner and evil and you just can’t ask for more in a Marvel villain.
This entire creative team shines, even if the twist might not have been exactly what was expected (or wanted, initially anyway) and Future Imperfect ends on an extremely high note which easily places it amongst some of the best first issues in recent memory. Everything has changed in the aftermath of Secret Wars and the possibilities for new stories and character interactions are almost endless. Yes, you need to read this book (along with Secret Wars) especially if you’ve never been introduced to The Maestro before.