Battle for Dystopia
Really wanted to take the time and write a review about Peter David's Hulk: Future Imperfect for quite a while; and now that I've journeyed back in time to read the two issues of the story line, I took it upon myself to write one. This review will touch up on both issues and not just part two (even though that's where most of the action takes place). I don't want to spoil too much because this is one you have to read for yourself to actually experience the same feelings that I have towards the overall story. I believe the plot and morale are definitely the main characteristics of the story and makes this that much more remarkable.
The story takes place in an apocalyptic future where the land is ruled by a brute dictator named the Maestro. We're taken straight into the dead center of it all once the story begins, which the artwork on the first page is presented with an impressively complex two-page spread of the ruins that form the city of Dystopia. From the get start, both Peter David (writer) and George Perez (artist) do an outstanding job elaborating on the horrid city that most call home; from the chaotic crowd to the overall depiction of the nuclear ravaged world, I believe they did a phenomenal job illustrating just that. With the brilliant colors filled in by Tom Smith, this book was apparently done by complete legends of comics. Really enjoyed the slang and different usage of words that the people of the future speak, although some of us may think it's hard to comprehend, I believe it corresponds well with the whole pictorialization of the story and places you in a trance relating to that particular time and setting. During this era, there are a handful of rebels wanting to overthrow the dictatorship of the Maestro and some has even gone as far as traveling back in time to bring "forth", practically the only being that as a chance of stopping him, the Hulk (merged personality), oblivious that he would be soon facing off against his future self. We are also introduced to Janis Jones, a great grand-daughter of Rick Jones, who is actually leading the rebels in the nuclear war. She was one of the few that used Doctor Doom's half-broken time machine to travel back to the "modern" timeline in search of their powerful ally. We also see that Rick Jones is still alive somehow..running on life support systems, he was the commandant who told Janis and her followers to go back in time to find his past self and retrieve the Hulk. One of my favorite artworks from this story was the two-page spread of Rick Jones' trophy room of fallen superheroes' memorabilia such as Thor's helmet, the Mjolnir, Cap's shield, Wolverine's admantium bones, Spidey's mask, Silver Surfer's board, the pelt of the Beast... and even Betty Banner's ashes! This is such a momentous canvas, you can seriously stare at this masterpiece for hours on end (no puns intended) and not have the urge to flip the page at all. Here, the Hulk meets the future Rick Jones and discovers he was the one that sent Janis to bring him to this alternate timeline in order to save the rest of humanity and rid the city of the gamma-fisted tyranny.
Moving on to the action-thrilling aspect of the story; I believe the battle between the Maestro and Hulk was such an intense, yet intriguing fight. They are again the same DNA, except Maestro is the future him. He is depicted of being wiser and more stronger than the past Hulk, possessing amplified powers due to being exposed to a nuclear holocaust. Even though he was the closest to ground zero as possible, Maestro was the only survivor and had created a world of his own. He is an intellectual sex-god ruling with an iron fist, which is why most people not within the boundaries of his city wish to overthrow his tyranny. There were two parts to this battle, as the first fight was an all-out brawl, exemplifying both of their main characteristics; which I believe was such a great buildup to the initial battle. As the first fight ends, you can see the confusing relationship between the two, both knowing that they are the same persona and have some sense of connection to one another. We are also led to an entire scene dedicated to Maestro's sex slavery, which gave me a few laughs here and there for sure. Knowing that Betty has passed away, the Maestro then begins his ultimate torture of the Hulk and forces sex slaves upon the Hulk pretending to be Betty Banner, which drives him half-crazy while in a paralytic stage. During a celebration party for his newly recruited sex slaves, Maestro explains to Hulk the rationale of his actions after the destruction of the world, which I believe helped open the story a little bit more.
Moving onto the second fight, this was on a more personal level for both powerhouses and depicted each other's raw superhuman abilities. This fight was really captivating and put me into a realm where I felt that I was actually there. The battle gets really interesting when two starts using the weapons and equipments from Rick Jones' trophy room, specifically Cap's vibranium shield - which made quite a few panels. This fight not only leads to the death of our favorite sidekick (try to guess), but also the death of someone deemed invulnerable. (Spoiler*) The conclusion of this story, sends you into a deep trance as to where Maestro might've ended up and right as you flip to the next page, "WHUMPHH... KABOOOM!" At the very end of the story we also get to see some sort of tribute to the fallen "super-hero" and receives some sort of memorabilia himself.
The really bad was during the time Janis travels back in time to find Rick Jones, her great grandfather from the past, in order to retrieve the Hulk. However, when they first meet, Rick thinks she's just a random flirty chick with a bad hair day and ends up fighting her straight out of the shower, half-naked! Can you say, the most creepiest and weirdest fight ever?! I mean, we're seeing a family brawl here, c'mon! They should've just made Janis point the gun towards Rick's balls to make it even more of an awkwardly weird moment.
If you're searching for a very intense battle of the Hulk and really want to see one of those Hulk smashing issues again, highly recommend you picking up this issue, more so both part one and part two of the story line. Trust me on this one, you're gonna want to read the full story of this battle, and definitely need to pick up both issues; as the first part is a great buildup to the second, where the initial battle unfolds. This is a story that you'll have to read firsthand to actually feel the same enthusiasm that I have, maybe even having the urge to write a review yourself! I believe Peter David did a fantastic job writing this story to its full potential and expressing great morals behind it, and evidently expanding on the great stories, more so the battles of Hulk mythos. The artwork again is phenomenal, having the story arc sketched out by the legend himself George Perez in collaboration with the brilliant, distinct colors from Tom Smith. These issues, however are sort of hard to come by nowadays and are more accessible via online sites such as Midtown Comics. Highly recommended issues for all Hulk fans!