Maestro #2 is an interesting second issue. It’s quite literally a cross-country journey as the Hulk explores what’s left of the United States and ponders the destruction at humanity’s hands. As a stand-alone issue, it’s an interesting read though not all that exciting. As part of the greater story, it’s much more and nice entry into the bigger picture.
Writer Peter David delivers a Hulk who recognizes the destruction before him and feels sad about it. This isn’t the raging Hulk who seeks death himself or rages against those that won’t let him find peace. This is one that’s more philosophical in nature and reflecting on his life and what’s before him.
In what both works and doesn’t, David uses Hulk’s travels to allow us to see more of what’s left. We’re shown the various survivors and what has sprung up, each different from the last. A few bring hope while others bring future conflict. What’s nice is we get a better lay of the land. But, each segment is just that, a quick segment. There’s little exploration of each settlement which hurts the story. It feels choppy and a bit short in depth and worldbuilding. Its’ been years since I read the original Future Imperfect so there’s probably more there but as is, nothing is explored enough.
Maestro #2 reads more like a guidebook to a world as opposed to a full fledge story. Not enough time is spent with each interesting group. And without that, it’s hard to care what happens. There’s a disconnect between the comic’s presentation and making you invested in what might happen to them. It’s a bit cold in some ways. Where moments could deliver hope, they feel a bit disconnected and a bit mechanical. It’s more roleplaying sourcebook without the in-depth information than story.
Some of the issues with the story is the art by Germán Peralta. While none of it is bad, there’s also a lack of detail at the time to add to the story. A discussion about wanting to add nutrients to a soil could have done with more details of the crops telling the story of the struggle of farming. An animal dead in the woods due to radiation isn’t mutated or emaciated enough to really impact. The motions are there without the detail, like the plot itself.
The issue also kicks off the first part of “Relics,” a back-up story with art by Dale Keown and color by Jason Keith. This is a bit more interesting. In just a few pages more is told about the world and also delivers some emotional heft. The short story is itself a quick rollercoaster ride full of hope and then crashing down showing how much society has not evolved after almost destroying itself. It’s the highlight of the issue and the only reason I’m not suggesting to skip it.
Maestro #2 isn’t a bad issue but it also feels like it doesn’t do the world and Hulk’s journey justice. It’s quick hits to give us a tour of “the players” in a single issue. While that can work as part of the bigger picture, it also doesn’t deliver enough interesting aspects or depths to really excite. As a collection though, it’d be fine as you can quickly move on to the next chapter. Sadly, for all of the excitement the first issue delivered, the second lacks the same punch.
Story: Peter David Art: Germán Peralta, Dale Keown
Color: Jason Keith Letterer: Ariana Maher
Story: 6.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review