“Secret Wars” has been touted as the end of the Marvel Universe as we know it, so it’s only fitting readers are treated to one more Hulk versus the Thing scrap. Written by Peter David, drawn by Greg Land, inked by Jay Leisten, colored by Nolan Woodard and lettered by Joe Sabino, this fight is a shade different, however, as “Future Imperfect” #2 puts the Maestro version of the Hulk in the ring with the Thing.
As shown in the previews online, this Thing is just as different from Benjamin J. Grimm as Maestro is from the “normal” Hulk. Without further spoiling the Thing’s identity, let’s just say he’s someone the Hulk is traditionally familiar with. In this story, there is no Fantastic Four for the Thing to call a family, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to do what’s right. The six-page origin of the Thing tells readers all they need to know, but it also detracts from the fact that this could have been a twenty-page slobber-knocker of Maestro and Thing just belting each other. Instead, David frames the bout with that origin and Maestro’s mad scheming, keeping the fisticuffs lean and mean at nine of the issue’s twenty pages.
“Future Imperfect” #2 is a wonderful platform for Greg Land to expand his repertoire, as the combatants are behemoths, visually unique in their oddity and massively exaggerated anatomically. In a pairing between Maestro and Thing, imagination must find a foothold. Land draws some borderline iconic imagery of the two combatants facing off but, when the behemoths collide, blurs and speedlines obscure the detail, giving way to impact and explosion. Nolan Woodard fills the issue with bright colors, heavy on the yellows and oranges, giving the pages the appearance of encapsulated explosions. This book looks good, the fight gets loud and the creative team gives readers a visual spectacle to behold, right down to the final “WAKOWWWWW” of the battle, thanks to letterer Joe Sabino.
David shows readers that Maestro relishes a challenge, physically and mentally, but seems to always be the best there is at what he does, making those true challenges few and far between. One of those challenges is the resistance movement that the Thing was leading. David keeps that subplot moving forward, but the true payout seems a little ways off. Just as the story gets moving and all of the pieces come together, however, “Future Imperfect” #2 stops. It’s just shy of a cliffhanger, more like an eyebrow-raiser, but it is enough to tease readers into returning next issue.