WRITER Peter David
ART Will Sliney
COLOR Antonio Fabela
LETTERER VC’s Joe Caramagna
EDITOR Devin Lewis
Miguel and Strange free themselves from Maestro’s dungeon – but are they out of the frying pan and into the fire?
SUMMARY: When last we left our intrepid hero he’d been manhandled by Maestro and dumped in a dungeon. Fortunately for Miguel he’s trapped with a familiar face – Strange, the 2099 Sorceress Supreme. While Maestro parties down with his harem of Betties, Strange manages to heal Miguel and the two overcome a guard and escape the dungeon. After overcoming more of Maestro’s goons the two heroes find themselves in the Maestro’s infamous trophy room and start to plan their escape. They find Dr. Doom’s Time Platform and Miguel quickly repairs it using suits of Iron Man armor displayed inside the trophy room.
Their elation, however, is short lived. Strange is stabbed from behind, gutted by the Maestro who had been using the Hood’s cloak to hide himself from the heroes. Miguel and Maestro go toe to toe once more but this time Miguel’s ready and refuses to fall before the Maestro once again. He uses a blast from an Iron Man Hulkbuster suit to drop Maestro long enough for him to use Doom’s platform and escape back to New York of the 616 universe.
Back in Maestro’s palace, we find out that Strange’s death had been a clever ruse by the demon who she shares a body with. The demon and Maestro had engineered a plan to let Miguel escape and for Maestro to use the now-functioning time platform to escape the 2099 timeline and arrive in the New Mexico desert – but of which timeline/universe?
ANALYSIS: Bad news? Another set-up issue for the upcoming Secret Wars event. Good news? It’s written by Peter David and features Miggy and the Maestro, so it’s still a win for Spider-Man (and Hulk!) fans.
No Maestro appearance is really complete without a visit to his trophy room, which we first saw in the excellent Hulk: Future Imperfect story. It’s always filled with little goodies, some obvious, some hidden, and it’s never uninteresting. Here we also get a nice cameo from Doom’s time machine, which has its own infamous history with the Marvel Universe. Having Miguel use Stark tech to repair the time machine, and having Miguel use Hulkbuster armor to blast Maestro, were fun moments. And it’s red meat for Marvel fans who are chomping at the bit to see the upcoming Iron Man/Hulk fight in this summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron movie.
Having Strange’s gestalt demon make an appearance suggests to me that she will play a role in the Maestro’s section of Battleworld in the upcoming Secret Wars reboot/non-reboot. This, along with the Avengers 2099 title by David, are the only bits of the Secret Wars event that I am looking forward to.
Nice moments of two-fisted glory, a conniving villain, a hero/demon gestalt wild card, the trophy room and Doom’s time machine add up for some fun as we ride out the calm before the storm. And hopefully, with Miguel back in 2099, we’ll get a wrap-up on the subplots with Alchemax and Tempest that Peter David was seeding when this book started. Peter David & Will Sliney’s excellent work on this book continue to make it my favorite from Marvel right now.