Since he made his debut in the pages of The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine has had a serious grudge match ongoing with Marvel’s green, gamma-fied Goliath. But his next battle won’t be against a single green meanie – it will be against an entire army of Hulks. That may sound like a straightforward showdown, tailor-made to get comic fans picking up an issue to see the kind of action Logan will dole out, and vice versa… but in the coming arc of Old Man Logan, the sheer strength of the army isn’t actually what makes it so terrifying.
While the Marvel bosses are planning to put Wolverine and Hulk into one body, the new creative team coming to Old Man Logan is pitting the title hero – the older, grey-haired Logan from a dystopic future – against the villain known as Maestro – an older, grey-haired Bruce Banner from a different dystopic future. Both were plucked from their disparate futures and planted into Marvel’s most recent rendition of Battleworld, but starting in Old Man Logan #25, both will face off in the main Marvel Universe. One trying to keep the world on track, the other out to claim it for his own empire.
Writer Ed Brisson and Mike Deodato will almost certainly introduce their own take on Maestro as they take over the series in Issue #25, but he’s a villain with deep roots in the Marvel Universe. He originally appeared (as mentioned above) as a dark, future Hulk from a world bathed in apocalyptic, nuclear fire. It wiped out most of the planet and nearly all the heroes, leaving Banner more powerful than ever… and instinctively driven to conquer what remained. Conquer he did, eventually doing battle with even Marvel’s main Hulk.
And thanks to CBR, fans can see just how the Maestro and his green-skinned backup will fare against the aging Wolverine on the cover of Issue #26…
Where the Hulk of the original Old Man Logan series – ruling over the western United States known as Hulkland, and patrolled by his hillbilly children – was complacent, bored, and borderline gluttonous, Maestro wanted to rule far more than a part of America and do more than father Hulk-children. Apparently, his time on Battleworld has hardened Maestro further. Not only is he heading into the current Marvel timeline (the distant past for him), but he’s gathering up what remains of the Hulk children from Logan’s own Wasteland reality.
According to details offered by Brisson to CBR, his team will be twenty strong, promising to show a new take on the Hulk Gang (since these children weren’t a good fit for the rest of their debaucherous, vice-loving kin). They’ve got a bone to pick with Logan since he brutally wiped out the rest of their relatives before he was pulled out of his dark future. And for some reason, we doubt that him clarifying it was only payback for them killing his family is going to change their minds. Maestro is too good a leader to have an army that’s easy to sway.
The most terrifying truth that Logan will be facing, however, is that he can hold his own against the Hulk, or even one or two of his offspring. But over a dozen Hulks, disciplined and directed by Maestro to begin a new empire in this timeline… that may be too great a challenge for even Old Man Logan to tackle. Maybe.
It’s just one of several coming stories for fans of Wolverine and Logan to look forward to. There’s the aforementioned Hulk/Wolverine hybrid set to be revealed in Weapons of Mutant Destruction, a mystery clawed character returning to X-Men: Blue, and even the promise of Wolverine, Hulk, and Iron Man returning to life thanks to Marvel’s upcoming Generations event. Add in Maestro and a Hulk army out for Old Man Logan’s head… and 2017 may just be the Year of the Wolverine when all is said and done. Will YOU be reading?