Peter David is on a quest to flesh out Maestro in a trilogy of series explaining how the greatest mind in super-villainy came to be. Out this week is Maestro: World War M, collecting a five-issue series where Maestro is at the top of the food chain after defeating Dr. Doom. The world is shattered beyond belief, nearly every hero and villain dead, but still there are those who stand against him.
And Abomination literally rises from the earth like the dead in Maestro: World War M #1! This character serves as the surrogate for the reader, who has been trapped in a mind prison for some time. It’s plain as day from that preview that David is attempting to humanize Abomination and make him a tragic figure. He’s all alone in a world that has been decimated, trying to make sense of his surroundings. This issue serves to put us inside his head while setting up the players in the narrative. Those figures include Dr. Doom, Namor, and of course Maestro.
Much like with the Old Man Logan universe, this book plays with what we know of Marvel using characters and locations in new ways thanks to the narrative throwing everything into disarray. It’s fun to see the state of Dr. Doom after his fight with Maestro or see how Namor has a new and older look. There aren’t a whole lot of character reveals, but the Avengers “A” on a building crushing some bystanders is a nice example of familiar things telling us something about the state of the world.
This issue also mixes things up with an interesting opening scene drawn by Pasqual Ferry with colors by Matt Hollingsworth. This scene has a twist that’s intriguing and has a dreamlike feel due to the art. It also helps define Abomination’s place in the narrative as a victim even if he was a supervillain for quite some time. Joining Ferry is main artist German Peralta, and on the last issue, Sebastian Cabrol. The art switch is rather obvious, but both get the job done. Expect lots of smashing, insanely large enemies with a good sense of scale, and Maestro that’s so connivingly evil you kind of root for him.
Peralta draws most of the issue, whose art has a darker tone with heavier ink work than Ferry. Colors by Jesus Aburtov lean into the horrible destroyed future with green skies conveying a world unlike our own. A cool feature of Namor’s army is their yellow visor helmets. The glass of the helmet is well done through coloring, which ties into the yellow jets on their heels. Peralta is very good at giving characters weight, which suits hulking characters like Abomination and Maestro as well as the flowing cape of Namor.
As you might expect, if you haven’t read the previous Maestro stories, your buy-in to the narrative may vary. Abomination is well written, though, making him an easy character you want to follow in a possible future where Maestro destroys everything to maintain his power and ego. The character has come a long way since the first issue in the first story, so there’s certainly some onus on the reader to do some back-issue reading. Even though Maestro is the title character, it’s Abomination who must think over the terrible things he’s done. By the end of the collection he certainly proves some self-sacrifice is in order to make amends.
Maestro: World War M is an interesting enough chapter in the revisit for the character, but Abomination is the character with the most interesting story. Do not start here if you’re at all interested in Maestro – it’s dependent on the previous stories to feel its full effect, and Maestro is oddly more of a force of nature than a well rounded character.
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