With all of the remixes and new creations spinning out of “Secret Wars,” some are bound to be more successful than others. You can definitely put “Future Imperfect” in the “successful” category, as Peter David revisits one of his most notable stories from his “Incredible Hulk” era alongside artist Greg Land, giving us a return to the world of the Maestro ruling his people with an iron fist.
For those who never read the original “Future Imperfect,” it involved a future where the Hulk (now called the Maestro) took over the world and defeated its heroes in the process, all to rule for the “good” of its people. Here, the Maestro gets another chance, with a mix of older and newer characters forming a resistance to try and stop one of the most powerful beings on the planet. David sets it up quickly and efficiently, letting Ruby Summers (from his “X-Factor” run) try and bring a beaten-down Odin onto the resistance, which is headed up by Janis Jones (from the original “Future Imperfect”). It’s an easy setup, one that allows Ruby to give the readers information through Odin, both about the resistance movement against the Maestro and also the Maestro’s rule itself.
David both makes the resistance a group not to be easily dismissed, but also reminds us that the Maestro is not only incredibly strong but also brilliant and cunning. He’s sneaky and that’s part of his danger; by the time the assault on the resistance has moved forward in earnest, it’s a situation that you begin to see as somewhat hopeless for the resistance, because they’re so very much in over their heads. Shifting the lead character from Janis to Ruby is also smart; not only is Ruby connected to characters who have been more in the spotlight these days (versus Rick Jones, who isn’t quite the force he once was), but she has a flashy appearance and power for those who haven’t encountered her before.
Land’s art is exactly what you expect if you’ve ever seen it before. He draws slick characters, but they also come across as heavily posed. The end result is a comic where the action sequences are lacking some energy, but the still moments are handsomely composed. There are some scenes which come across a little odd — there’s a marketplace scene in Dystopia that feels like it’s supposed to depict a huge crowd, but instead only has six characters — but on the whole it’s not a bad looking book.
“Future Imperfect” #1 succeeds because the script is tight and the setup is one that actually bears a revisit. No one writes the Hulk quite like David, and his rendition of an evil future Hulk is one of his most lasting contributions to the mythos. I’ll definitely be back for issue #2.