Published by Marvel Comics in 1992, Future Imperfect is a two-part tale featuring The Incredible Hulk. Written by Peter David, with art by George Pérez, Future Imperfect is set in a dystopian world, where the Hulk has evolved into a murderous tyrant known as the Maestro.
The story features some graphic imagery and certainly pulls no punches, but it is a must-read Hulk tale. For those who like comics which explore dark futures, this one has it in spades and stands out as an iconic Marvel epic.
What happens in Future Imperfect?
It is 90 years into the future and the world has gone to hell. Poverty and despair stalk the streets, and the Maestro rules over the land.
The Maestro’s name is feared by all, and those living under his rule know not to cross him. But the Hulk has other ideas.
The Hulk has been transported through time to face the Maestro and break his control. The only problem is, he doesn’t know anything about the Maestro.
Working with a group of resistance fighters, the Hulk meets up with his old pal, Rick Jones – and ‘old’ is the operative word. Rick is now a decrepit man, who has survived two wars (including World War III) and he has an important tale to tell.
Rick informs the Hulk that he used time travel technology, salvaged from Doctor Doom, in order to bring him to the future. He also informs the Hulk that he is the world’s only line of defence against the Maestro, because…
…the Hulk IS the Maestro.
The Hulk and the Maestro battle it out. Although the Hulk stands his ground, the Maestro is the victor.
Seriously injured, and taken prisoner, the Hulk becomes a reluctant guest at the Maestro’s home. The Maestro believes he can convince the Hulk his future is inevitable and it would be better to accept his fate.
The Hulk resists the opportunity to join the Maestro, and instead with the assistance of the rebels, he engages in another fight. But as the pair are evenly matched, it would seem the Maestro will not be defeated.
Changing tactics, the Hulk activates Doctor Doom’s time travel technology and sends the Maestro back to the past – to the moment where the Hulk was created in a gamma explosion. The Maestro arrives just as the gamma bomb goes off, and he instantly dies in the blast.
With the Maestro dead, the future is saved…
Is Future Imperfect worth a read?
Over the years, the Hulk has taken on many forms, from savage brute to smart-talking professor. All of these personalities have had their own unique quirks, but none have been as intriguing as the Maestro.
The Maestro is what the Hulk could become if he combined his intellect with his strength… then embraced life as a nihilistic despot!
This is a Hulk who is practically unstoppable. And if you put the Hulk in a story where he is pitted against a practically unstoppable version of himself, then you know you’re in for a treat.
Future Imperfect is a wonderfully dark tale, which explores one possible future for the Hulk. It demonstrates the true depravity that comes with absolute power, and explores a sinister side to a classic Marvel hero.
Whether you are a fan of The Incredible Hulk or not, Future Imperfect is an excellent Marvel tale. It (briefly) upsets the status quo and makes it clear the Hulk COULD experience this future, if he doesn’t keep his emotions in check.
Has The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect been adapted for film?
To date, Future Imperfect has not been adapted for film, but hopefully one day it will. This is a classic Hulk tale, with a lot of potential for the big screen and would be perfect as a dystopian MCU adventure.
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