Maestro #1 Review

by Charles Martin on August 19, 2020

Maestro #1 Review
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Germán Peralta
Colourist: Jesus Aburtov
Opening Scene Artist: Dale Keown
Opening Scene Colourist: Jason Keith
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Publisher: Marvel Comics

WARNING: This review includes spoilers. If you like the premise -- the birth of the Maestro -- and trust the creators, you can back out of this review and go buy Maestro #1 in confidence. You won't be disappointed.

We begin with the Hulk living his best, most heroic life. He smashes a Sentinel and gets kudos from the Avengers. He enjoys an idyllic family life with his happy wife Betty and two adorable sons.

It is, of course, far too good to be true. The second act kicks off when the Hulk wakes up, bearded and pumped full of Happy Science by A.I.M. A very frazzled M.O.D.O.K is there to explain that the Hulk just slept through a mark-one nuclear armageddon, and now the world's broken.

This makes a pretty good starting point for the Hulk's turn to villainy -- while he was out of action, the human race destroyed itself and his superhero pals completely failed to stop it. That'll be reason enough to turn him evil. The creators do a good job of setting the stage and building anticipation for the changes to come.

Peter David's script is a smooth-running machine with an excellent pace. The dialogue flows out just a little too fast, pushed along by the relentless development of the plot. And it's a good plot, even though the "nuclear armageddon" premise is shop-worn. 

The writer makes a few links to the ongoing Immortal Hulk, referencing (while also dismissing) Bruce Banner's DID. In truth, he could have gone a lot further -- Hulk's contempt at seeing the world blow itself up could be tied very neatly to Devil Hulk's crusade to save Earth from humanity in IH.

This comic's satisfying words are significantly elevated by a pair of tour-de-force artistic performances. Dale Keown and Germán Peralta are worlds apart, stylistically -- but the divide is perfectly suited to the script's "dream vs. reality" structure. And the two artists are similar in that they're both working to an incredibly high standard. Mr. Keown delivers a perfect, tightly-pencilled dream sequence that evokes classic cape-wearing superheroism. Mr. Peralta's post-apocalyptic reality is grittier and more painterly, but no less detailed. 

The colours in both sections are outstanding, but if I'm forced to choose, I would rate Jesus Aburtov more highly than Jason Keith. The latter dresses up the dream-sequence superheroics in bold hues, but Mr. Aburtov's colours make a bigger impact in defining the "real world" visuals. They bring out the full potential of Mr. Peralta's art, creating depth and creating some noteworthy interplay between light and shadow.

In Maestro #1, expert creators throw the end of the world at the Hulk. This is very much a stage-setting exercise; his actual turn to villainy is yet to come. Although the particular shape this armageddon takes is a little tired, a brisk script and gorgeous art do plenty to make the ride enjoyable. The prospect of reading on isn't at all daunting; we can't wait to see what sort of trouble the Hulk will stir up.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
Of course Wolverine is in the dream sequence, because Wolverine sells comics.