Hulk: Future Imperfect TPB Review


Hulk: Future Imperfect TPB (Collects Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect #1-2 and Incredible Hulk: The End)
Written by Peter David
Art by George Perez and Dale Keown
Colored by Tom Smith and Dan Kemp
Published by Marvel Comics

Even though I’m a proud owner of almost every issue of Peter David’s now legendary run on Incredible Hulk and have read each issue at least twice, for some reason I never read Hulk: Future Imperfect.

If there was a explanation why I never read it, I can’t remember it now all these years later. The most likely scenario is that like so many books out there, Future Imperfect was always on the “comics I really need to read at some point” list and just never had a good reason to move it from there.

For that, I guess I should be thanking the upcoming Secret Wars event and the announced Future Imperfect tie-in series that sees David return to the world of the Maestro along with artist Greg Land. There was no way I was going to miss David writing the Incredible Hulk again, so when Marvel recently printed a new edition of the original classic, I jumped at the chance to finally check it out.

After finishing it, I really wish it hadn’t taken me so long to finally enjoy what could be one of Peter David’s finest Hulk stories.

At this point I’m sure everyone is aware of the story and plot line of Future Imperfect. It sees the Hulk transported to a desolate future where he has to confront the Maestro, a twisted, insane, older version of himself. It’s a plot only David could come up with, and is executed flawlessly. The pacing and dialogue is all done in that patented Peter David style that his fans love, and the ending will leave your mouth hanging open in astonishment. Given that Future Imperfect is over 20 years old, that it holds up so incredibly well and could easily be published today with only a few minor tweaks is a testament to David’s skill at the keyboard.

What really pushed Future Imperfect beyond just a being a great Peter David Hulk story is the artwork of George Perez. Aside from being a master at his craft, Perez adds in all the little touches that other artists either aren’t capable of or don’t bother to try: Rick Jones’ trophy room, the first time we see Dystopia, the way he makes the Hulk and the Maestro the exact same yet completely different. In the hands of any other artist, Future Imperfect would have been considered a very good Hulk comic, but with Perez at the drawing board, it becomes an instant classic.

In addition to Future Imperfect, the book also includes the one-shot Incredible Hulk: The End. Also written by David, it gives the story of the Hulk as definitive an ending as is possible in comics. It’s a darker story than Future Imperfect and much more somber, but still very, very good. Dale Keown, who some will remember got his big break working on the Incredible Hulk, turns in some outstanding art that gives The Last Titan a look unlike any Peter David story before or since.

Future Imperfect planted plenty of seeds that were utilized in David’s later Hulk scripts and the Maestro has become something of an arch-nemesis for the Hulk, always in the back of Banner’s mind. To see where it all started makes me all the more excited to see the next chapter of the story in the Future Imperfect Secret Wars series.

The Bottom Line: Hulk: Future Imperfect is called a classic with good reason. Both it and The End are great examples of what made Peter David’s run on Incredible Hulk so popular and why they are still talked about today. If, for whatever reason, you have not read Future Imperfect yet, this new edition of the trade paperback gives you a great excuse to check it out.

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