The Evil Future Hulk’s Weirdest Powers, Abilities and Weaknesses

In many ways, the Maestro is a lot like his modern counterpart, the Hulk, but the tyrant who rules over several of Marvel's future timelines has several differences from the modern Bruce Banner. Over the years, the Hulk and the Maestro became completely distinct characters, but Maestro's admittedly confusing multiverse-spanning history can make it hard to keep track of just what exactly the diabolical despot can do.

Now, we're taking a closer look at the Maestro through his powers, abilities, history and weaknesses to see what really separates him from the Incredible Hulk.

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Maestro Is Not as Strong as the Hulk

One of the central draws of Maestro as a character is the overwhelming threat he presents as a villain, which combines his genius-level intellect with unbelievable strength and a remorseless outlook on the world. The main fixture of the Hulk's strength is that it grows with his anger, increasing the threat he presents the more prolonged a fight grows. When he first faced off against the Maestro in Peter David and George Perez's Hulk: Future Imperfect, he learned that his future counterpart shared in the ability, growing just as strong as the Hulk as the two squared off in a battle that leveled buildings.

One interesting limitation to Maestro's strength growing with his anger is that the ability does not seem to be as pervasive as Hulk's. In Peter David and German Peralta's 2020 Maestro miniseries, Hercules demolished the despot in their fight and remarked that he just didn't share the Hulk's same unbridled fury. Considering that the Hulk that Maestro fought in Future Imperfect was a more intelligent incarnation, it may seem that Maestro's devastating physical power hast limits his mental abilities and experience make up for.

Maestro's Hulk Healing Factor

While his strength may be compromised, Maestro's healing factor has made him practically as immortal as his present day incarnation proves to be. The ability to regenerate lost or damaged cells allows Maestro's body to recover from virtually any injury. Considering he can already shrug off gunfire and steel-rending claws without taking any damage, watching the damage he does take fade away in moments proves disheartening to those he faces down in combat.

In Peter David, German Peralta and Javier Pina's Maestro: War & Pax, it was even shown that Maestro's regeneration remains even when he reverts to his human form of Bruce Banner. After being shot through the heart in his human form, the Pantheon are forced to sedate and imprison Banner psychically for fear he would come back from any injury they tried to inflict on his corpse. They even theorized that if they scattered Bruce Banner's body parts the only result would be multiple Maestros regenerating from the lost limbs, which makes for a truly terrifying prospect.

RELATED: Hulk: How Ruffalo Lost the Role to Norton Before Winning It Back Years Later

What Can Stop Maestro

However, Maestro's healing factor still has its limits. Evenly matched against his physical equivalent in the Hulk, in the original Future Imperfect story Maestro managed to outwit his heroic counterpart by snapping the Hulk's neck and paralyzing him. While the Hulk's healing factor gradually regenerated the wound, it took long enough that the Maestro could use much of his former self's stay in the future to try to tempt him toward the dark side.

The limitation is one Maestro learned about himself earlier in his timeline in 2006's Exiles #80, by Tony Bedard and Paul Pelletier. When the reality-hopping Exiles visited him in pursuit of the villain Proteus, the ensuing battle squared Maestro off against the body of Hulk 2099 inhabited by Proteus' consciousness. In that fight, Proteus snapped Maestro's neck and left him paralyzed, planting the seeds for an exploitable weakness he could later use to his advantage against the Hulk.

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How the Hulk Defeated Maestro

One of the things that makes Maestro stand out in his world is that he is one of the few surviving heroes, and his powers uniquely position him to live in the post-apocalyptic environment of the Future Imperfect timeline. Ravaged by nuclear weapons as humanity destroyed itself, Maestro discovers upon waking up in the future that the ambient energy only makes him stronger. Fueled by the gamma radiation that first created him, the post-apocalyptic world is the perfect kingdom for him to reign over, and it is a key part in defining who Maestro is in the eerie alternate world.

Even that ability has its limits, however. Overwhelmed by too much radiation, the Maestro eventually falls ill and loses his strength for a spell. The Hulk even originally defeated him by using a time machine to send him back to the gamma bomb that first created him, with the excess gamma radiation overloading Maestro's attempts at absorption and vaporizing him. Even that was not the end for Maestro, however, whose essence lingered around as a gamma ghost constantly beckoning Hulk back to the New Mexican desert.

RELATED: Why Were the Hulk's Pants Always Purple?


One of the biggest differences between the Hulk and Maestro is that the latter has complete control over his transformations and rarely ever uses it. While Bruce Banner tends to prefer staying in his human form and only brings the Hulk personality out when he is angry or facing a legitimate threat, Maestro views himself as a wholly integrated and separate personality where he simply prefers to stay in his stronger form at all times.

In various alternate realities, Maestro shows off the ability to trigger his transformations at will, however. He did so most often in Old Man Logan, and used his human form as a deceptive measure to infiltrate the heroes in the Future Imperfect of Battleworld. Most recently, the Pantheon psychically lulled Maestro into willingly entering the form by making him believe he saw his mother in their fight. Since he's practically unkillable, however, that only works as a temporary measure, as the real Maestro is always right around the corner.

KEEP READING: Which Marvel Heroes Sided With Hulk During World War Hulk - and Why?

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Brenton Stewart (1028 Articles Published)

Brenton somehow earned a college degree in the middle of a multi-decade pop culture binge he continues to this day. His interests range across philosophy, literature, and the arts to comics, cartoons, television, and Dungeons & Dragons. Follow him on Twitter @BrentonStewart6 or reach out by e-mail at [email protected] if you have nice things to say!

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