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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

It's gotta be hard to be a writer for the Hulk - the guy's basically been the same since his first appearance to the modern day. The only scribe who did much with him, in fact, was Peter David. You name a memorable Hulk story, and odds are PAD's behind it. One of the best was the time-travelling adventure Future Imperfect.

The Maestro is quite literally the Hulk's Alpha and Omega, his beginning and his end. Sometime in a possible future, the Earth was devastated by global nuclear war, a conflict that killed most of humanity, including its superhuman population. One of the few survivors was the Hulk, who found that he simply absorbed the radiation, making him even stronger, but also driving him insane. Calling himself the Maestro, he eliminated any possible competition, and proclaimed himself ruler of the world.

We'll get this out of the way first: this figure is missing something very important. Something that should have been caught and fixed in the prototype phase. Something even a casual fan would have had the sense to include - Maestro's Fallen Hero Armor.

Lack of appropriate accessories aside, Maestro is a really cool figure. He's nearly 7⅝", which makes him the same size as the Smart Hulk figure. Well, same height, anyway; he's a lot wider. He dwarfs the previous version in terms of articulation, as well, with joints at the toes, ankles, knees, hips, fingers, wrists, elbows, bicpes, shoulders (including pull-out hinges), neck and head. He doesn't have a traditional waist, but the joint that runs through his abdomen serves the same purpose.

Sculpted by Dave Cortes, Maestro's skin is rough and pebbly, covered with the warts and scars of a lifetime. His eyebrows jut quite far out over his eyes, and you can tell he's frowning even behind that big bushy beard. He's wearing more clothes than the previous verison, and they're detailed nicely. His baggy pants are tucked into ridged boots, and his loin cloth has two different textures. For some reason, his elbows have the same ribbed pattern as his boots, and the texture of his skin changes noticably about halfway down his forearms. It's almost like they were going to have him wearing gloves or something.

You really have to admire the paint apps. There's a solid green base, with a dark wash for the crevices and a light dry brush for the high areas. The metal boots and elbow pads are mostly silver, with a blue tinge. The shadows on his beard are a bit heavy, but his eyes are great. This guy is intense! The hairy bits might be a bit rough, but Maestro's skin and clothes are really quite good.

Maestro does technically have one accessory: a horned crown that, yes, he actually wore in the comic. Bet that makes Jesse happy. Keeps him warm at night. Really makes his life complete, knowing that this figure is comic-accurate. Anyway, the crown fits on his head correctly, but it doesn't attach in any way, so it'll probably spend more time at his feet than on his head. Still, it's good that we got this, and better that it's removable. Know what be even nicer? Fallen Hero Armor!

The figures in ML12 don't come with display bases - this is the Apocalypse Series, so they each have a piece of the line's big blue Build-A-Figure. Maestro has the left arm, which is has a bit of technologucal detail. There's supposed to be a silver tube that connects Apoc's elbow to his waist, but the early releases of M Diddy didn't have it; the figure's missing his armor, the accessory's missing its connector. Yeesh. Great work, guys. ToyBiz, thankfully, offered free replacement tubes through its website, and later shipments had the tube in place. If you're worried about it, look at the bottom of the clamshell - you'd be able to see it if it was in there. If it's not, you can get one free.

Maestro comes with a reprint of Captain Marvel #30, the finale of a four-part storyline that... okay, forget what happens in the comic. It's all-around terrible. It's written by Peter David, but he's more in pun mode, and the art is only so-so. Maestro is George Perez's baby, and no one else makes him look as good.

-- 03/24/06

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