REVIEW: ‘Maestro: War and Pax,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Maestro War & Pax #3 - But Why Tho?

Maestro: War and Pax #3 is published by Marvel Comics. Written by Peter David. The pencillers are Javier Pina and Wilton Santos. Inks by Pina and Oren Junior. The colorist is Jesus Aburtov, and the letters are by Travis Lanham.

Set in the Future Imperfect alternate timeline, Maestro has decided on a new political movement that encompasses the whole of this dystopian land: PAX, short for Post Apocalyptic Movement. This is a new world order where free will is completely abandoned, and any who resists his rule are obliterated. One of the last remaining opponents to Maestro is his old friends, the Pantheon, long-lived superheroes with names taken from Greek mythology. They visit Banner, tricking him onto their jet before gassing him. For what Maestro doesn’t know is that they have a secret ally, Victor Von Doom…

The pantheon has now brought Maestro inside their base, keeping him sedated. They plan to turn him back into Bruce Banner so that he is easier to kill. Delphi seduces the psychic Paris, convincing him to enter Bruce’s mind and shut him down that way. Connecting them via technology, Paris enters Maestro’s mind. But his plan backfires, waking Maestro up. Freed from captivity, Banner is no longer in a talking mood…

The structure and pacing of the plot are brilliant, the momentum of the previous two comics continuing. As the Pantheon discuss their plan, there is a build-up similar to a horror movie. The reader is arguably expecting the idea to go wrong, the characters in a tiny claustrophobic laboratory with a bomb. The issue becomes a waiting game of when that bomb will go off. When it does, the horror movie aspect of the series continues, but now this is a monster’s rampage where the reader is desperate for them to stop. The events of what follows are surprising and brutal, close to uncomfortable to watch. The pace is intense before it comes to a close in a sudden and unexpected climax.

With Maestro unconscious for much of the issue, the main characters of Maestro: War and Pax #3 become Pantheon. As the series progresses, they have had more presence within the comic. They have always been an underused superhero team, and David bringing them back allows them to be explored further. They have very different personalities, but they are always devoted to protecting each other. When they are put under pressure, their instinct is to put themselves in harm’s way to keep their family safe. But Maestro knows this, which can have devastating consequences. Ajax has such an affectionate personality that readers are instantly warm to him, while Ulysses and Atalanta are fierce warriors. It is good to see Delphi and Paris be utilized, too, as they haven’t had much to do within the comic yet.

As for Maestro, his determination and resilience are clear to see. Within this issue, it is obvious just how dedicated to his ideals he is, with no hope of sending him down a different path. In his green form, there is little the Pantheon can do to stop him, which is also made evident. However, there is one weakness that they may be able to exploit…

The art continues to be epic. The fight scenes within this limited series might be some of the best in recent comics. Much of this comes from Pina’s choreography. There is a brilliant feeling of movement as Maestro launches himself at enemies, and when he moves, the impact can almost be felt. Some of the moves he makes in Maestro: War and Pax #3 are gruesome and intensely violent, but the panel’s layout suggests that he does them at speed before quickly moving on to his next target. The artists are fantastic at showing the size difference between him and his enemies, with the inks detailing his muscle definition. The use of facial expressions is a massive influence in making what happens so much more heartbreaking. And even more, concerning is that Maestro remains calm throughout the whole thing. His moves are calculated, his rage directed instead of explosive.

The colors are superb. They are vibrant and diverse in their shades, Aburtov expertly showing off the characters’ powers with glowing energy. There is very little in the panels’ background during the action scenes, except for single colors such as deep red. This is welcome as it stops any distractions from the exhilarating action in the foreground. Much of what happens is made even more disturbing because of the colors added, including a lot of shades of red. 

The lettering is well done and unintrusive. The word balloons are small but still easy to read. Lanham’s font is very clear. Additionally, there isn’t a large amount of SFX used in the fight scene. When it is, it fits well within the panel. If there were too much added, it might have detracted from the emotional aspect of the battle.

Maestro: War and Pax #3 is another powerful issue. Even though this is an alternate timeline, you can’t help but care about these characters. Maestro is the main character, and yet the readers are left wanting him to lose. The dialogue and story are fantastic, but the issue’s real draw is found in the second half. The battle is stunning in its design and intense in its execution. It may be one of the most emotionally charged fights in comics.

Maestro: War and Pax #3 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

 

Maestro: War and Pax #3
5

TL;DR

Maestro: War and Pax #3 is another powerful issue. Even though this is an alternate timeline, you can’t help but care about these characters. Maestro is the main character, and yet the readers are left wanting him to lose. The dialogue and story are fantastic, but the issue’s real draw is found in the second half. The battle is stunning in its design and intense in its execution. It may be one of the most emotionally charged fights in comics.