ADVANCED REVIEW: “Maestro: War and Pax,” Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Maestro War & Pax #1 - But Why Tho?Maestro: War and Pax #1 is a comic published by Marvel. Written by Peter David with art by Javier Pina. Colours by Jesus Aburtov and letters by Travis Lanham.

Maestro was first seen in the “Future Imperfect” storyline in 1992. A smarter version of the Hulk, this alternate Bruce Banner survived the nuclear apocalypse and now rules the wasteland.

In Maestro: War and Pax #1, Maestro continues his dominance, heading into Connecticut to finish off the last of the resistance against him, obliterating any that stand in his path. After the destructive cold open, Maestro lays out his new plan: to remove any division left in humanity and eliminate divergent opinions. In his new political movement, the whole world will respond to a single overlord, with those that think differently treated as a threat. The first enemy of PAX, the name of his new movement, is a gathering of humans in Washington, D.C protected by a hero.

The plot is interesting and hectic. It is full of action and battles, like a classic Hulk comic. The setup of the series is explained quickly. The cold open, featuring the Maestro attacking Connecticut, catches the reader up on the story before the next scene describes how it travels forward. This is quick and efficient. The violent tone of Maestro: War and Pax #1 is also established early on with the title character committing an awful act. The battle with the classic character is exhilarating and well structured, setting a high standard from the start. There is a reveal at the end of the issue, but previous hints made it easy to guess. But there are other characters featured that were revelations too.

Maestro is a unique character to star in a series, as he is the villain of the story. The actions he takes are reprehensible and the reader often wishes for the characters battling him to win. That is not to say that he isn’t a fun character to read, as he is the Hulk after all. Embittered and grumpy, some of David’s dialogue will bring smirks to faces. The hero that he fights in this issue was also written brilliantly, feeling much more like the hero of the comic. This creates a situation where one is seriously concerned about their fate. 

There are moments where the dialogue is long-winded, but these are few and far between. The scene where Maestro lays out his plans for the future has word balloons that could be viewed as repetitive and unnecessary. Aside from that, there are thrilling conversations between enemies that are full of animosity.

The art is superb in Maestro: War and Pax #1. Pina has beautifully clean lines, making it incredibly easy to tell what is happening on the page. The title character looks amazing with his huge frame and thick white beard. Pina fills the facial hair with a lot of detail as it moves according to the weather and movement affecting it. Maestro always has a scowl on his face, occasionally uttering a fierce snarl. The other superheroes in the comic are also drawn fantastically, instantly recognizable. The fight is exhilarating, pitting two very different power sets against each other. 

The colours are stunning and bright. There is a smoothness to the textures which complaints the line art perfectly. Maestro has a light green skin tone that actually features several shades at the same time. The same colours are often used within the same panels which makes them easier to process. The other notable feature that Aburtov adds to the comic is the sickening green tinge to the sky, a constant reminder of the nuclear radiation that contributed to the wasteland.

The letters are coherent and effectively laid out. Maestro’s sinister internal monologue is placed in cool grey caption boxes, making them even more chilling. 

Maestro: War and Pax #1 is an intense first issue. David takes a character that he created almost 30 years ago and writes a great continuation to his story.  Featuring epic fights and expanding a world with unexpected new additions, this alternate universe set on a world full of death has shown that it still has life in it. The characters that have been drafted into the story will provide nothing but exciting trouble for Maestro’s mission.

Maestro: War and Pax #1
4

TL;DR

Maestro: War and Pax #1 is an intense first issue. David takes a character that he created almost 30 years ago and writes a great continuation to his story.  Featuring epic fights and expanding a world with unexpected new additions, this alternate universe set on a world full of death has shown that it still has life in it. The characters that have been drafted into the story will provide nothing but exciting trouble for Maestro’s mission.