|FUTURE IMPERFECT No. 2, September 2015|
Despite the end result usually favouring the green-skinned gamma giant, fans of both the Incredible Hulk and The Thing have continually clamoured for the pair to ‘slug it out’ with one another ever since their classic 1963 punch-up within the pages of Issue Twelve of “Fantastic Four”. This particular “Secret Wars” confrontation however comes with something of a twist as writer Peter David not only reimagines Bruce Banner’s alter-ego as the murderously-maniacal Maestro for the ten-page bout of pugilism. But also alters the persona of the orange rock-covered human mutate from that of Ben Grimm into Major Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross; an Air Force orbital pilot who was transformed by cosmic rays during a test flight.
Such a disconcerting “Marvel Worldwide” modification doubtless may well have upset the ‘purist’ element of this title’s 47,944 strong audience. Yet it also rather cleverly creates a considerable amount of uncertainty in the narrative’s proceedings, especially when the Thing catches the tyrant off-guard with a formidable left swing and drop kicks the malevolent ruler into a nearby multi-rise building. Sadly however the Wizard Fan award-winner’s storyline does not permit such ambiguity for too long and the “Lord Baron Maestro” soon seemingly effortlessly batters “the leader of the anti-Maestro revolt” into unconsciousness; “Get a cart. Strap him in and bring him back to the castle.”
Equally as enthralling a read as this comic’s "monster smash" is the American author’s wonderfully scripted flashback sequence depicting Glen Talbot and Major Ross’ tragically flawed attempt to beat “the Russkies to space… before the Air Force”. David’s five-panel long conversation between the two tense pilots is delightfully prickly, with the senior officer even reminding his subordinate that they “aren’t on a first name basis” and really helps reinforce the hard-nosed determination to do his duty which Thaddeus’ character is famous for.
Greg Land’s pencilling is also rather pleasing to the eye, even if his design of the Maestro’s emerald-armoured rifle-carrying “cavalry” aren’t terribly impressive-looking and seem far more suited to an appearance in one of L. Frank Baum’s “Wizard Of Oz” novels than a supposedly serious comic book story of human suffering and oppression.
|The variant cover art of "FUTURE IMPERFECT" No. 2 by Rafa Garres|