Hulk: Future Imperfect – A Comic Classic Review

What’s the greatest threat for the Hulk, the strongest one of all? Or even for Bruce Banner, the smartest one of all? I mean, he’d likely survive a nuclear apocalypse, and be left behind with the cockroaches and whoever might have hidden out…

Hulk Future Imperfect 2There’s a story in the comics where just such a turn of events happens. As the strongest survivor of World War 3, the Hulk by right of conquest becomes the Maestro. And so we find the Hulk’s greatest threat – his own cruel future self.

The Maestro is the creation of Peter David, one of the best known writers of The Incredible Hulk series (and my personal favorite author). In a two-part comic called Future Imperfect, the Hulk is recruited to head to the future and defeat the Maestro. As the only one who possibly could.

They duke it out physically, where the 100-years-older Maestro is nonetheless stronger, having absorbed so much radiation. Of course, it’s still a pretty good fight…

Puny Banner

The Maestro is stronger, and he wins the fight, taking Hulk prisoner. At that point, the battle turns internal. The Maestro wins the mental battle as well – as they fight over whether the death of the Hulk would alter the timeline. The Hulk doesn’t give in to try this desperate play.

Time Travel Theorizing

The other battleground is internal, as the Maestro knows the Hulk and what he might want. He also has the arguments and simple proof that the Hulk eventually gave in – and became the Maestro. So the third battleground is temptation. The idea that the Hulk could join the Maestro, and that together they could rule, and as the strongest ones, take whatever they wanted.

Strongest One of All

The future that was painted was interesting. It reminded me a lot of The IncalΒ and I was surprised to see it wasn’t Moebius doing the art. It’s a full-on dystopia (literally called Dystopia), with a lot of new slang and a lot of horrible things. The Maestro, in particular, is ridiculously chauvinistic and most of the women in the society might come to be his possession. It’s good of the Hulk to come around and beat him…

Dystopia

It also has one of those great sorts of future scenes that often show up in visions of Marvel’s future: a room full of the paraphernalia of dead heroes and villains.

The Hall of Dead Heroes

Future Imperfect is a fascinating little comic, so if you’re looking for something to read that will make you really root for the hero to overcome the villain, check out this classic!

All images from Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect, copyright Marvel, and captured from the Marvel App.

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26 thoughts on “Hulk: Future Imperfect – A Comic Classic Review

  1. Discovered your blog on the Challenge Road Trip. You will appreciate that I am more a cup of tea and a English cosy mystery gal, but going to share your link with a bright and interesting grandson. Appreciate that your posts are well presented and easy to read. So many aren’t. Hope lots of new readers find you on this Road trip. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well hi Stepheny! I actually found your blog during A to Z last year πŸ™‚ Sourcerer here is a contributor blog so I am one of many bloggers here. One of the deepest wells on the site are the posts with music in them, so maybe something to check out. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. The Hulk certainly could survive a nuclear apocalypse, as the events of Planet Hulk and World War Hulk clearly demonstrate. He survived ground zero of a MASSIVE explosion. But puny, city-destroying bombs are no threat to the Hulk! …just to everyone around him! πŸ˜‰

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    • Future Imperfect came before Planet Hulk or World War Hulk… The groundwork was there for him surviving explosions I guess! Good recommendations of the Hulk stories, though πŸ™‚

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  3. FUTURE IMPERFECT is the greatest Hulk story, and I have an eighteen-inch Maestro statue in my library as a testament to it. PLANET HULK is the second greatest Hulk story. THE END, also by Peter David, is up there. And honestly the run that just got rudely interrupted by SECRET WARS, which continued stuff that started in Mark Waid’s brief run, has been pretty damn good too.

    I prefer my Hulk talking and rude, if that’s not perfectly clear. πŸ™‚

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    • Ah ha, so you’ve been enjoying Doc Green. Just looking at the Secret Wars stuff so far… looks like Doc Green is around in the Planet Hulk series, and they’re returning to Future Imperfect (by Peter David!) as well. So while Secret Wars kind of feels like a crazy nostalgia ploy… they also identified some good stuff to run with πŸ˜‰

      I am planning some posts to lead up to the current Secret Wars. I am reading the current comics at the trade paperback point (though digital), so I’m not there yet… just looking at all these short-run titles dropping and having to figure out which, if any, I’d like to read! They might all have to wait to be read with Marvel Unlimited…

      Meanwhile! Will have to check out Planet Hulk and The End sometime too πŸ™‚

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      • I’ve actually got a hardback with The End and FI packaged together. Great compilation. I was more excited about the idea of a new Secret Wars before I saw what it was; it’s barely started and I can already feel myself losing interest.

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        • I’m heading into Secret Wars almost exclusively from reading Hickman’s main comics which lead straight into the main Secret Wars story… the rest feels like a combination of gimmicks and nostalgia. Which still… returning to stories like Days of Future Past, Marvel 1602, the Infinity Gauntlet… There’s potential there. Not a lot of it being done by the original writers, though, which makes some of Peter David’s stuff (2099, Future Imperfect) seem like the most interesting stuff to watch out for.

          Also, obligatory moment where I recommend Hickman’s Avengers stuff and you mention that you haven’t gotten into it yet πŸ˜‰ However! How about some main recommended reading?

          New Avengers v.1
          Avengers v.1+2
          Infinity (including the NA & A tie-in issues, they’re all tied up together)
          Then unless you’re really into it (in which case, there’s a few prior and after collections I’m leaving off… and if you really like it Avengers World which I haven’t read…):
          Time Runs Out v.1-4

          Volume 4 of Time Runs Out isn’t out yet… that’s the one leading straight into Secret Wars! I want to know how it all finally got there! But by now I have a pretty good idea. And corporate-wise, I get why – I just wonder how much it will really have a lasting effect, or be brushed off like so many “this changes everything” events of the past… Hickman at least has spent years building up to the idea of tearing everything down around them!

          And with that, I’m done hijacking my own thread…

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            • Agreed. I’m thinking I’ll let the dust settle on Secret Wars and decide in the fall if any of the 5-or-so issue series are worth reading at all. It’ll be like the Age of Apocalypse – tons of short titles, of various interest and merit.

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            • The one this year? That sounded like the intro to the post-Secret Wars Avengers lineup! No local comic shop so I didn’t get that one and don’t see it digital yet… someday!

              We’ll see how I’m feeling post-Hickman. Might be time to find a new comic obsession. Of course, my instinct would be to check out the New 52 to get into DC… except oh wait, just a few years in they’re nuking the whole thing… At least this is the first time Marvel is really doing this?

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            • What what now? You’re gonna try Ms. Marvel in the interim? Yes, try Ms. Marvel.

              Honestly I think the New 52 is probably MORE worth checking out now that we know it’s got an expiration date. I knew that was coming, but we didn’t know exactly when they’d call it quits. Really I’d recommend knowing the characters first, though.

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