Peter David Discusses Mastro Making A Comeback

Over at Comicbookresources, Peter David discussed how the Maestro, the future version of the Hulk, is suddenly making a comeback:

Marvel Comics’ Hulk is the strongest there is, which means he can survive almost anything, whether he wants to or not. In the 1992 miniseries “Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect,” legendary Hulk scribe Peter David and artist George Perez took readers to a possible future where the Hulk survived a nuclear holocaust that killed everyone the gamma powered goliath cared about. The grief he suffered and the radiation he absorbed gave birth to a malevolent and even mightier Hulk persona known as the Maestro who ruled over the survivors of a nuclear devastated Marvel U with an iron fist.

While their first encounter saw the modern day Hulk travel to the Maestro’s future to kill his future self, the villain’s evil has returned to plague the Marvel Universe on a number of occasions over the years, most recently in the Peter David-written “Spider-Man 2099.” This June, David returns to the Maestro once again for a reimagining of “Future Imperfect” during “Secret Wars” that teams him with artist Greg Land and casts the monstrous future Hulk as the ruler of his own domain on Battleworld.

CBR News spoke with David about “Future Imperfect,” and though he declined to talk about story specifics the writer was able to chat about the appeal of writing the Maestro, what motivates the character’s behavior and the domains and supporting players that play significant roles in the story.

CBR News: You recently brought the Maestro back into the larger Marvel Universe in “Spider-Man 2099″ and will continue the character’s exploits in the “Secret Wars” series “Future Imperfect.” This isn’t the first time you’ve returned to the character since creating him in 1992. What is it about the Maestro that has you returning to him again and again?

Peter David: Well, for starters, he’s the Hulk. I admit to some loyalty to the Hulk which probably stems from my having written him for over a decade. But this is a wonderfully twisted version of the character, with all of his strengths and none of his weaknesses. He’s not only got the strength, but he’s a master tactician because he’s been doing this for over a century, so that puts him ahead of just about everyone except Thor. He certainly has his own perspective on the world.

“Future Imperfect” might be some readers’ first encounter with the Maestro and his sinister perspective, so I wanted to get into his origin and how he views himself. Essentially the Maestro personality resulted from an apocalyptic possible future where the Hulk with Bruce Banner’s intellect absorbed the radiation from a nuclear war and was made physically stronger but driven insane by the experience, correct? How does the Maestro view his own brutal actions?

Yes, that’s fundamentally correct. It occurred to me in creating him that people always envision some sort of nuclear wasteland after a world war involving nukes, and that such a world would be no problem for the Hulk because he just soaks it up. I would say the twisting of his personality was less because of the radiation and more from just living a hundred or so years of surviving in a world where everyone and everything he loved had died. The madness wasn’t from the radiation but the experience. Keep in mind that Bruce’s mind fractured at a young age because of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father. The merged personality of the Hulk has deep reflections of his father in him, and his father was a complete bastard. As for how he views his actions, he just sees himself as doing what was necessary to take the best advantage of the world presented to him.

“Future Imperfect” finds the Maestro bringing his schemes to “Secret Wars’” Battleworld. What can you tell us about his activities there? Is he once again the ruler of of his own oppressive realm?

Yes, he is. Dystopia is alive and well and the Maestro is running the show. But he isn’t satisfied with the world as it currently stands, and the series is about his plans to do something about it.

Is the Maestro’s “Dystopia” the same sort of world he presided over in the original “Future Imperfect?”

It is indeed the Dystopia from the original “Future Imperfect,” and several characters from that series will be returning. But I won’t just be focusing on that; he will wind up traveling to another realm with a very specific goal in mind.

Who are some of the characters the Maestro will run afoul of as he tries to execute his agenda for Battleworld?

Janis and Skooter from the original. Ruby Summers from “X-Factor.” And several other “X-Factor” characters as well, plus the Boss, whose identity will be revealed at the end of the first issue.

Finally, Artist Greg Land is bringing to life “Future Imperfect.” Greg is best known for drawing glitzy and glamorous worlds and characters. What does he bring to a darker more gritty world like the one in “Future Imperfect?”

I’ve seen the entire first issue, and I have to say, it looks great. Greg brought his A-game to this series and I couldn’t be happier.

Marvel Comics June 2015 Incredible Hulk Solicitations

PLANET HULK #2
SAM HUMPHRIES (w) • MARC LAMING (a)
Cover by MICHAEL DEL MUNDO
VARIANT COVER BY TBA
• Gladiator STEVE ROGERS, his trusty steed DEVIL DINOSAUR and the mysterious DOC GREEN go deeper into one of the most dangerous domains of BATTLEWORLD, the HULK infested territory known as GREENLAND!
• WILD HULKS in the jungle! GIANT HULKS in lakes of fire!
• But is the journey the most perilous part of this hellish mission or is it one of the travelers?
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

FUTURE IMPERFECT #1
PETER DAVID (w)
GREG LAND (a/C)
Variant Cover by DALE KEOWN
ANT-SIZED VARIANT COVER BY DALE KEOWN
THE INGWENIBLE HULK VARIANT COVER BY NICK BRADSHAW
ON BATTLEWORLD, THE DICTATOR OF DYSTOPIA IS A FAMILIAR FACE!
• THE MAESTRO rules but there are those who want him dethroned!
• What role does RUBY SUMMERS have in the plan for this dangerous rebellion?
• Have the rebels genuinely found ODIN, the father of The Gods, as an ally against the Maestro?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

FUTURE IMPERFECT #2
PETER DAVID (w)
GREG LAND (a/C)
VARIANT COVER BY TBA
MONSTER SMASH!!!
• A BATTLE ROYALE between THE MAESTRO and the THING!!!
• But is it the BEN GRIMM we know and love under that rocky hide?
• What X-FACTOR member will show up as an unexpected ally of the rebels?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

SECRET WARS 2099 #2 (OF 5)
PETER DAVID (w) • WILLIAM SLINEY (a)
Cover by DAVE RAPOZA
SPIDER-GWEN 2099 VARIANT COVER BY JASON LATOUR
• Secret Wars continues as The Avengers of the Year 2099 come face to face with a tremendous beast who’s no stranger to the team!
• Who could it be? We’ll give you a hint – you won’t like him when he’s angry.
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

ULTIMATE END #2 (OF 5)
BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (w) • MARK BAGLEY (a/C)
BRIAN MICHAEL GWENDIS VARIANT BY CHIP ZDARSKY
THE LAST ULTIMATES STORY BY THE GROUND-BREAKING UNIVERSE’S FOUNDING FATHERS!
• The countdown has begun
• An end of an era
• Who will survive?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

SECRET WARS: BATTLEWORLD #2 (OF 4)
DAVID WALKER and DONNY CATES (w)
JJ KIRBY and MARCO TURINI (a)
Cover by CHRIS B. MURRAY
VARIANT Cover by JAMES STOKOE
• BLADE is on the trail of the dreaded Count Drakula, but not if HOWARD THE DUCK has something to say about it! (Spoiler: He Does!)
• Rising star David Walker (SHAFT) and JJ Kirby tell the tale of the Daywalker trapped in a city of ducks!
• The death of his daughter has made gladiator Thaddeus Ross a true WAR MACHINE, but will he ever find vengeance in the ring or become the monster he hates? Donny Cates (BUZZKILL, GHOST FLEET) and Marco Turini (CYBERFORCE) bring the pain and the glory!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

Help the Hulk Get A Beer Named After Him

At the Denver Comic Con, they have an annual contest to name the official beer for the convention and this year, there is a group trying to get it called “Hulk’s Mash” Let’s rally behind the contest and get the Hulk his own beer! (Batman had one last year so we need to make sure the Hulk gets one this year>

GO HERE TO VOTE FOR THE HULK (have to be on FB to vote)!

Preview Hulk #13

Story by Gerry Duggan
Art by Mark Bagley, Drew Hennessey
Colors by Jason Keith
Letters by VC – Cory Petit
Cover by Mark Bagley, Drew Hennessey, Brad Anderson
Publisher Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date Mar 18th, 2015

• GUEST STARRING DEADPOOL

• DOC GREEN hires DEADPOOL for a very sensitive mission. Is he more trouble than he’s worth?

• An unexpected person voices concern over Doc Green’s ANTI-GAMMA campaign.

• DID WE MENTION DEADPOOL?

Hulk vs Hulkbuster in Avengers Ultron Movie: The Reason for the Fight SPOILERS

We have all seen the Avengers Age of Ultron trailers with the scenes of the Hulk fighting Iron Man in his Hulkbuster armor. There has been lots of talk about why the two science buddies would be fighting and now we know. During a recent Disney meeting with investors, they explained the fight. Keep reading but this is a SPOILER so turn back now if you don’t want to know.

-Hulk has lost control and wreaking havoc in an urban area, destroying everything on the street.
-Heavily armed police units and armored vehicles attempt to stop him by shooting at Hulk. No effect.
-Iron Man flies in and orders the police to stop.
-Stark is prepared for this and there are curious objects flying alongside him.
-Metal plates come from the sky and smash into the ground in front and around Hulk, surrounding him and encasing him in a cell of sorts to contain him.
Hulk breaks free.
-Iron Man in wearing his main Mark 43 suit and then pieces began assembling much like the armor from Iron Man 3 forming the Hulkbuster around him. The end of this bit was shown in the first Avengers 2 trailer.
-Stark attempts to talk down Hulk: “The witch is messing with your brain. You’re smarter than her, you’re Bruce Banner.”
-Then it turns into hardcore action as they fight and smash through the streets and up and down buildings.
-Hulkbuster has the edge until Hulk gets behind him and stabs a traffic light through the armor.
-Like we said above, Stark is prepared for this, and as the Hulkbuster outer armor takes damage, pieces fall off and new pieces come in to replace. It’s a modular design.
-At one point, Iron Man gets on top of Hulk and repeatedly punches at his face, while saying “Sleep, go to sleep.”
-No effect.
-Stark’s plan is seemingly to get Hulk out of the area so he commands one of the fallen off, broken arm pieces to attach to Hulk and help him fly out of the area.

Upcoming Future Imperfect Series with the Maestro From Peter David Plus Contest of Champions Game

Marvel had already teased us with a Dale Keown image of Future Imperfect when the Secret Wars storyline was first being talked about. Now Peter David finally talks about the upcoming Future Imperfect series which will of course feature the future version of the Hulk called the Maestro and will feature art by Greg Land. I would to own the original artwork from Greg Land from the cover but it is a bit out of my price range unfortunately, unless he would like to donate it to me of course. The other great news is that the Maestro will be featured in the Contest of the Champions mobile game as the big heavy. How awesome is that!! Read the article from The Hollywood Report that gives all the cool details:

The Marvel Entertainment supervillain — a version of the Hulk from a distant future, who has become corrupted by power and a life spent in conflict with everyone around him — first appeared in 1992’s The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect mini-series by writer Peter David and artist George Perez, but he’s set to return in not only a new comic book series, but also as the main villain in the mobile game Marvel Contest of Champions.

“I have to admit, when I created the character in the 1990s for a two-part story where he died in the end, it never occurred to me that he would have the kind of staying power where it’s now almost 25 years later and he’s heading up his own series,” David told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week.

He put the appeal of the Maestro down to his central concept. “Even though he’s the evil, future version of the Hulk, deep down he’s still Bruce Banner, and I think people find that intriguing,” he said. “They find it curious that the guy who’s currently here in the Marvel Universe, is the ultimate bad guy in the far future.”

The seeds of the Maestro’s creation came to David during his critically-acclaimed 12-year run as the writer of the regular Incredible Hulk comic book, where he dealt with the recently-established fact that Bruce Banner had been abused as a child by his father.

“Early on in my run, I came to the conclusion that — because he’d suffered abuse as a child — Bruce Banner was already someone suffering from what was then called Multiple Personality Disorder,” David explained. “The concept was that the explosion that released all the gamma rays did not create a problem as much as exacerbate an already existing one, that this guy had the potential to be a new version of his father. The Maestro was the ultimate take on that idea, that Bruce Banner is not necessarily a nice guy.”

David is handling the villain’s return to the comic book page, in a new Future Imperfect series tying in with Marvel’s summer event, Secret Wars, illustrated by artist Greg Land. “There are things in the new series that reflect and harken back to the first series,” he promises, saying that characters from the first series will return — although he won’t be drawn out as to whether Rick Jones, the Hulk’s former sidekick leading the revolution against the Maestro in the original story, is one of them.

“I don’t want to give away everything,” he teases. “I will tell you this: there’s a character in the series referred to as ‘the boss,’ a person who oversees the battle against the Maestro. I feel pretty confident in saying that no-one will be able to guess that person’s identity until it’s revealed on the last page.”

While the Maestro is causing trouble for the inhabitants of Battleworld in the comic pages, the character will also be revealed to be the puppet master behind events in the successful Marvel Contest of Champions mobile game. According to Bill Rosemann, creative director of Marvel Games, the villain’s introduction started with a phone call.

“The game is based on a storyline by Sam Humphries [writer of Legendary Star-Lord and Uncanny X-Force for Marvel], and Sam gave me a call,” Rosemann told THR. “We’d gotten to a point in the game where we would be revealing who the big bad was — we knew that [on-screen villain] the Collector was working with a mysterious benefactor, and the player had already seen Thanos, so we found ourselves wondering who would be the best reveal, who would be a character who could trump the Collector and go toe-to-toe and perhaps even defeat Thanos himself?”

The Maestro fit the bill, Rosemann said, not only because of his and Humphries’ respect for David’s work on the original Future Imperfect series, but the basic appeal of the character. “The way that Peter and George did such a fantastic job in thinking up the character and what he looks like means that, when you first look at him, you instantly get it. You see him, you see his weapons, and you know that this is the Hulk of the future and he is trouble.”

The weapons alone might be enough of an indicator for those who have been playing Contest of Champions for awhile — the game launched in December, and has been downloaded almost 20 million times, according to Rosemann. “We sent our friends at [game developer] Ka-Bam reference art from the first Future Imperfect, and copies of the comic book to read, so that they would get the Maestro correct,” Rosemann said. “In the game visuals, you’ll see that they gave him some armor, and it’s armor that he hasn’t been seen wearing before, and we made sure to add detailing that was authentic to the story, with weapons that come right from the trophy room in the original story — every time we show the Maestro, he has all these weapons that all come from a Marvel hero or villain that you can look at and puzzle where each of them come from. We love to have easter eggs.”

Both David and Rosemann spoke about the excitement of potential crossover between the game and comic audiences as a result of the Maestro’s new prominence in both (“That’s the goal,” Rosemann said. “They’re two things, each designed to be the best they can be, but if we can introduce each of our audiences to the others’ story, that’s an awesome thing”), but they were also quick to reassure that cross-promotion wasn’t the reason for the character’s appearance.

“The number one thing is always, does it make a good story,” Rosemann said. “What would be the coolest, most awesome reveal that would make the readers or players think ‘Holy crap?’ While thinking about it, we realized that Secret Wars was coming up and would be harking back to some of Marvel’s greatest alternate timelines and stories, but that was additive. The original intent is always story, story, story — and the wonderful character of the Maestro.”

David said that it’s “tremendously exciting” to be able to return to the character as a writer, but also to see him engage with the wider Marvel universe in the Contest of Champions game, pointing out that when you create a character in a shared universe, seeing them interact with other heroes and creators is something you hope for. Rosemann, meanwhile, pointed to the Maestro’s plans in the new Future Imperfect comic book and the Contest of Champions game and said simply, “It’s the time of the Maestro. And that time is now.”

The Maestro is already available in the Contest of Champions game, while the first issue of the new Future Imperfect will be released digitally and in comic book stores June 3.

Joss Whedon Talks Incredible Hulk in Avengers Movie

In an interview with SFX, Avengers Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon had this to say about the Hulk in the upcoming movie:
“There is more Hulk in this movie than there was in the last first,” Whedon revealed to SFX. It was great to see The Hulk smashing alien invaders in The Avengers, but at times it felt like he was there to be a spectacle and not a well-developed character. That won’t be the case in the sequel. “What I love is we have the opportunity, because we went in with this mission statement, to shoot the Hulk like a character in a movie, and not like a ‘Look what we’ve got!’ We have ‘overs’ – blurry ‘Hulk’s over there! Bits, very quick shots,” Whedon explained. “Everything isn’t ‘We built the Hulk so for god’s sake you’re going to watch him in this long take, full frame, the whole time!’ We really got to make him one of the characters in the movie. And that was a gift.”