Marvel’s Evil Hulk, the Maestro, is a supervillain who was created by Peter David and artist George Pérez. Maestro first appeared in The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect #1, in 1992. Maestro’s alter ego is Dr. Robert Bruce Banner. In the previous Maestro mini-series, fans learn how he came to power: he had Vapor, a former U-Foe, poison former ruler Hercules’ drink, killing him. Hercules was able to return to exact revenge thanks to the god Hades, but it was for nothing, and now the Maestro rules Dystopia. Now he seeks to consolidate his powers, and his fierce robotic Dogs of War will help him.
The issue opens with the Maestro quelling anyone who might resist him, the first being a group called the Stalkers. The Maestro offers them a chance to join him but when they refuse, he calls out the Dogs of War, who make quick work of the Stalkers. But the most horrifying part is to come. After the Stalkers massacre, the Maestro asks about their children. An underling leads him to the surviving children and he attempts to win them over as well. One of the children spits in his face and when the other kids grab knives and advance on the Maestro, he orders his Dogs of War to attack and kill the kids; ironically, on his way to meet the children, he said they were not “monsters” and that he would not kill any kids.
This incidence is one of its kind. We know that maestro is evil and reckless and will not stop at anything, but what just happened here was totally out of the blue. turning the Dogs of War loose on children takes it to another level. It shows him not to be someone of his word—he said he would not kill children, but when they offended him personally he had no qualms about it. The Maestro takes all of Hulk’s evil tendencies and ramps them up to horrifying levels. The Maestro is one of Peter David’s many contributions to the Hulk’s mythos, and now he has returned to show the Maestro’s rise to power. Readers have seen just how low he will go—to the point where he unleashes robotic attack dogs on children.
Many children died in Maestro’s attack, performed with his soldiers and Dogs of War as they decimated the resistance forces. Maestro approaches the children and explains his twisted worldview to them, saying that he did not kill their parents but their parents killed themselves by resisting him. He plays nice, asking to be called Bruce and offering the children a new home in a new city. But when one of the children spit on him it turns ugly. Maestro is a self-proclaimed leader, and something of this sort is definitely against everything he stands for.
So maestro does what he did not think he would ever do. Unwilling to tolerate open defiance and disrespect in any form, the Maestro orders his army to “do what you want” with the children as the robotic Dogs of War and soldiers close in. The Maestro has been atrocious before, but murdering a helpless group of orphaned children just might take the cake.