It was a book that came with a good deal of trepidation - any series that is issued as being a direct sequel to a classic much loved story from decades ago is rarely anything that either recaptures the magic of the original material or even flatters the character involved. Worse still the entire exercise serves to devalue the worth of the creator in question as by vainly chasing past glories he only damages his own legend. And the original material he serves to revisit...
Yet, astonishingly none of that is actually the fact here! And when evaluating Peter David's confident and faultless scripting of this debut issue I can only ask - where has he been, and why is it he isn't under a more secure contract to Marvel? Because this was an impressive outing for a writer who hasn't been seen in comics much in recent years, and who hasn't written for the Hulk in even more years. And yet reading this issue he picks up the voice of the character he redefined three decades ago and captures the character perfectly.
As yet it is not at all clear what events will cause Bruce Banner to lose his faith in human nature, to stop caring about anything or anyone other than his own self and collapse into the his darkest impulses. To actually tread the same callous path of his hated father.
Whatever the turning point is is not at all clear by the end of this issue, but while he still holds onto his lifetime principles and good naturedness perhaps the fact that he has yet to go white and is still relatively young is the key factor to bear in mind - there are clearly many years to come for Bruce Banner, many years of loneliness and time to fully absorb the consequences of what humanity ended up achieving for the world around him...
So the question hangs in the air - is it loneliness that tips him, or more likely, will it be his own intellect, his own sense of moral and physical superiority that corrupts his outlook as he travels the earth and sees firsthand how worthless humanity now is. That nothing matters anymore... other than himself.
[But back to the original point that I imagine is on most peoples minds - why is it Peter David isn't working on an ongoing series? Because based on this issue the man has lost none of his touch.]
I think PAD works as much as he wants to.
Recently he did that Scarlet Spider series that spun out of the Clone Conspiracy storyline in the Spider titles.
I would love it if he had never left the Hulk, but he's made it clear that he'll work on whatever character he wants whenever he wants, so I guess that in general, he hasn't felt like writing Hulk stories other than just sporadically over the past 20 years. It's always a treat when he does though.
Maestro #1, like most of PAD's Marvel work, exemplifies the best of what Marvel was from the mid 80's to the early 2000's. Even in the early-to-mid 90's when most of Marvel's output was pretty grotesque, PAD's Hulk was always an amazing book.