Part of the fun of Secret Wars are the various tie-in titles that take a look at various versions of Marvel’s characters through out their storied continuity. Secret Wars: Future Imperfect #1 combines characters from two of Peter David’s old stories. We have the Maestro from David’s 1993 Future Imperfect storyline and Ruby Summers from David’s 2008 X-Factor story dealing with an alternate future. I loved both David’s Hulk run and his brilliant X-Factor run. I also have always liked the Maestro, a version of the Hulk where he is evil and posses Banner’s intelligence with the Hulk’s less savory personality traits. And Ruby Summers was a fantastic character that I always enjoyed seeing in the pages of X-Factor. With that in mind let’s hit this review!
Words: Peter David
Art: Greg Land
Colors: Nolan Woodard
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Ruby Summers all alone enjoying some “me time” out in the desert of the Greenland. Ruby thinks how the world used to have gods. That the world used to have heroes. But they are all gone now.
Ruby then spies a person in the distance. Ruby decides to go see if the person is still alive. If they are then she will help them. If they are dead then she will see what they may have valuable on them that she can take.
Ruby approaches the person and we see that it is Odin. Ruby asks him who he is. Odin introduces himself. Ruby is stunned that this is the actual King of Gods. Ruby asks Odin if he is indeed the father of the Thors. Odin replies that he is the father of “Thor” and that the Thors Corps is a perversion of how it used to be.
Ruby gives Odin some water. Odin says that all he wants to do is to destroy the Maestro. Ruby says that she will take Odin into the city of Dystopia and introduce Odin to her fellow rebels and “the boss.”
We cut to Dystopia where two of Ruby’s fellow Rebels, Scooter and Janis, are in the city’s marketplace. Ruby then appears from the shadows and tells her fellow rebels that she found someone who can help them dethrone the Maestro. Ruby introduces Scooter and Janis to Odin. Ruby says that they need to take Odin to see “the boss.”
They all then enter a hidden elevator in an abandoned building and go down deep into the earth. They exit the elevator and then enter a hidden subterranean city. Ruby explains that this is where all the people who the Maestro deems unworthy to live in his city can come and seek sanctuary.
Ruby tells Odin that Scanner is going to scan him to make sure he is not a threat. That this is just a standard security precaution that the rebels must do. Ruby says after Odin is scanned then they can introduce Odin to “the boss.” Scanner reaches into Odin’s mind. Scanner suddenly collapses in pain and cries out that Odin will destroy them all.
Odin then flips up his eye patch and says that the rebels do have security, but that it is a bit late. Odin then says that he is David Bruce Banner. Banner then transforms into the Maestro. And we officially have a braaaaawl. Ruby begins blasting Maestro. Maestro powers through her energy blasts knowing that if he tires her out then she will have to wait a period of time to recharge before mounting another energy attack on him. Maestro then begins to beat Ruby like a government mule.
Janis and Scooter then use a large cannon to blast Maestro in the back. Maestro then takes Janis and Scooter down with a thunder-clap. Janis mumbles that it cannot end this way. Maestro gloats that the feeble rebels provided him with some momentary entertainment but that it is all over now. Janis then exclaims “Boss!” The Maestro turns around and says “Well, well. You.”
We then see The Thing enter the scene. The Thing replies “Me.” End of issue.
The Good: Future Imperfect #1 was a blast to read. I will openly admit that I love Peter David’s writing. I always have. So, it is of zero surprise that I enjoyed his writing in this issue. For me, David just gets comic books. He gets what makes the super hero genre the best genre in all of comic books. And you can tell that David genuinely loves the super hero genre. That is not something that can be said for many writers working for Marvel and DC these days.
David whips up a strongly paced and plotted issue. The story moves with a clear purpose in mind. David dials up a fine blend of action packed and dialogue heavy scenes. This issue is fairly compressed but never feels rushed. The flow to this issue is perfect. The scenes pleasantly transition into the next one. David hooks the reader’s attention from the start and takes them on an enjoyable ride up until the dramatic surprise ending.
David’s stories always has a central theme to them. This issue’s theme is the concept of the ancient gods and mythology and super heroes who serve as modern gods with a modern mythology. David plays with this theme by having Odin make an appearance. Then the twist of Odin actually being the Maestro furthers David’s theme that the ancient gods and modern super heroes are all dead. That only the villains are left to rule Dystopia. This is thematic work that was handled artfully.
The mystery of the rebel’s boss was well-played by David. The several casual references to “the boss” helped to pique the reader’s interest in finding out the identity of this character. And of course, this all lead nicely into an awesome hook ending with the stunning revelation that the Thing is the “boss” of the rebels.
I love David’s decision to use the Thing as the Maestro’s opponent in this story. These two characters always get lumped together since they are both “monsters” and they have the same power set. Of course, the Hulk has always had more power. However, the Thing has always had more heart and a stronger fighting spirit. The Thing is Rocky and the Hulk is Apollo Creed. I always root for the Thing when these two characters clash. And I will definitely be rooting for the Thing to lay the smackdown on Maestro’s candy ass.
As always, David cranks out well crafted dialogue and some quality character work. All the characters have well-formed external voices. The dialogue has a pleasant flow and David is able to generate good chemistry between the characters in a short amount of time. The reader gets a great sense of the personalities for Ruby and the Maestro. David also knows just when to insert some humor into the story without detracting to the general mood and tone of the story.
David has a little old school treat in store for the reader with this issue. In the beginning of Future Imperfect #1, there is a map to the Maestro’s Trophy Room diagram. You used to see stuff like this in older comic books all the time. I loved it! It was great. And, of course, David sprinkled his humor into the map as well. The best part was the warning for the visitor to “Please remain clam and respectful.”
The artwork was solid. I normally dislike Land’s artwork. However, the artwork in Future Imperfect #1 did not look like overtly obvious light-box tracing. Maybe it is and Land is simply doing a better job. The artwork does not look incredibly stiff and posed. The facial expressions actually match the dialogue.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: Future Imperfect #1 is another excellent Secret Wars tie-in issue. If you like classic super hero romps then definitely check this title out. You will get treated to an excellent blend of action, adventure and humor. This is a fun issue and is worth the cover price.