Writer: Peter David
Art: Javier Pina, German Peralta, and Dale Keown
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 14th, 2021
The Pantheon, who was once allied with the HULK, have found themselves at odds with the MAESTRO’S new world order. So, to end this monster’s rule, the Pantheon team sends the MAESTRO into a dreamscape in hopes to finally transform him back to Bruce Banner. By manipulating him to see his dead mother, the Pantheon’s plan works and they managed to kill the HULK! Let’s smash into MAESTRO: WAR AND PAX #4 by Peter David to see who will now reign over Dystopia. Or, will we discover that the HULK is tougher to kill than the Pantheon remembers? My guess is the latter…
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PEACE BE WITH YOU
So, Peter David tries to answer the age-old question: how do you kill the HULK? Many have tried. And according to Al Ewing’s IMMORTAL HULK, many have succeeded. The real question is, how can you get the HULK to stay dead? You see, he’s been killed numerous times. Yet, he continues to come back. Do you cut him up and throw away the pieces? Or, will he turn into mini HULKS? Alas, this reviewer loved David using a discussion between the Pantheons as a tool to elaborate on their choice of murder. However, I still find myself questioning their tactic. I feel like the Pantheon’s history with the HULK should have deemed them a much more clever means for ending/ subduing the HULK than they did this issue.
Additionally, I admired the use of duranium. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked. To my knowledge of Marvel Comics, duranium hasn’t been used. Still, I find myself drawn to it by its sheer connection to STAR TREK. You see, duranium is used to make the starships and is known in that world-scape as one of the strongest metal/ alloys. Heck, it must be strong to travel at light speeds while being attacked by photon cannons. My point: David just shared with the Marvel Universe that the MAESTRO, when Bruce completely gives himself over, is strong enough to break out of a solid duranium tomb. Could this metal be stronger than vibranium or adamantium? Well, it’s at least on par making the MAESTRO one of the strongest remaining beings on the planet!
Overall, the issue was fine. The plot flowed nicely. The comic read well and the pacing was smooth. This series as a whole is easy to follow, straightforward, and fun for any interested HULK fan to dive immediately into with ease. However, my biggest concerns are related to DOCTOR DOOM and the Pantheons. First of all, the Pantheons quickly threw in the towel towards the end of this issue. Within three pages, the MAESTRO turns the tide and ultimately they succumb.
Furthermore, so does M.O.D.O.K., who we haven’t seen since the beginning of the first series. There is so much more David could have done with A.I.M. and simply so much more to explore. Let’s think about this: DOOM and the Pantheon craft this plan only to watch the MAESTRO easily escape. It just felt like pieces of the plot were missing. Moreover, I thought DOCTOR DOOM would have a much larger role in all of this than he has. Sure, there is a showdown on the horizon. But, with only one issue left, how deep can they really go with that fight? Heck, it seems like HERCULES put up more of a fight than the Pantheon. I just question the velocity of the crescendo within the narrative.
Javier Pina appears to shine with his panel organization. The main reason this comic reads so well is due to its panel layout and progression from one page to the other. Balance that display with Travis Lanham’s lettering and the reader’s eyes are practically escorted from page to page. From boxed landscapes to MAESTRO strutting across the page through comic gutters, the creativity came, not only in the character illustrations but the design and structure of the issue. Even the placement of larger frames to hammer home more emotion was right on the money. It was almost like I could hear the metal doors tearing off the hinges as well as the bones of the character crunching. Pina and his art team did a stellar job this week invoking passion and angry making this reviewer excited for the battle that remains between MAESTRO and DOOM.
Even though I was a bit disappointed with the direction David took, I could still appreciate the ingenuity and craftsmanship his team put forth throughout this issue of MAESTRO: WAR AND PAX. It’s a fast ride filled with furious action that truly made sense, regardless of my misgivings. The sheer power of the MAESTRO comes through even more so than before leaving fans to wonder if even DOCTOR DOOM can handle this fully functioning HULK. This series is tons of fun and should be read by all HULK fans alike. With only one issue left, if you haven’t picked it up yet I highly recommend grabbing the trade. Hit me up, let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!