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Synopsis "Gone, But Not Forgotten"
Previously in Blackest Night #8: The appearance of the White Lantern and the defeat of Nekron heralded the resurrection of twelve seemingly random villains and heroes. One of those twelve was the former-Checkmate and JLI executive Maxwell Lord. He used his telepathic power to cloud Guy Gardner’s memory and slipped away before anybody else noticed his return.
Sometime later, Maxwell Lord returns to New York City, the original site of his Justice League offices, and is cornered by two policemen. He forces them to kill each other. He then allows his face to be picked up by an anti-terrorist facial recognition system. The authorities alert the Justice League and Superman holds an emergency press conference to warn the world about Max’s return. The Batman (Dick Grayson) briefs the Justice League’s allies and coordinates an international manhunt to follow-up other sighting of Max around the world. Booster Gold, a founding member of Lord’s JLI, is investigating mercenaries at the JLI’s former Moscow Embassy until Power Girl drags him to one side and admonishes him for starting a massive firefight and for not following Batman’s game plan.
A joint Checkmate/ US military expedition is investigating a similar lead in Yemen. The team is led by Checkmate’s Fire and the US’s Army’s Captain Atom (both ex-members of the JLI), their target is an energy signature that is believed to be connected with Max. Fire doesn’t trust the US Army so she insists that Ice, another former JLI member, accompanies them. The mission traces the energy readings to a hidden cave laboratory, but it suddenly spikes as a booby-trapped bomb begins to explode. Captain Atom saves the rest of the mission by absorbing the torrent of energy, but he has to race into orbit to discharge the energy safely.
Booster returns to Rip Hunter’s laboratory to review the evidence. He realises that Max played them. His appearances after his first appearance in New York have been distractions. Booster realises that Lord is still in New York and has been using the JLI’s old transporter tubes to jump between Embassies. Booster returns to the New York Embassy and discovers that somebody has reactivated the power systems. An EM pulse shuts down his power-suit moments before Max ambushes him with a concrete club. Max tells Booster that he is haunted by the Blue Beetle’s death, but he is only doing what he’s ever sought to do from the very beginning – in his words “trying to save the world”. Max then exits, but he leaves Booster alive.
Before he passes out, Booster uses the last of his strength to activate an old JLI signal device. Skeets receives Booster’s signal and brings Fire, Ice, and Captain Atom to the Embassy. They are concerned by the large pool of blood that Booster is lying in, but he tells them it’s not his. It’s Max’s blood. He is pushing his mind control power to its absolute limit causing himself to lose massive quantities of blood. Max prepared for this by attaching himself to a blood infusion and he has made sure he’s got a bath of ice to fall into. He then uses all his strength to create a single suggestion that he telepathically broadcasts to the entire world. Those near to him, his former comrades, are overwhelmed and pass out. By the time they awaken Max has recovered and has left the Embassy. Fire tries to check in with Checkmate, but neither they, nor Superman who arrives moments later, have any memory of man called “Maxwell Lord.”
- Captain Atom is back working with the US military
- Plastic Man and Vixen are shown assisting the search for Maxwell Lord, presumably they’ve both healed after the events of Cry For Justice and Justice League of America #40.
- Ice lives in apartment 24B.
- The Checkmate operation to find Maxwell Lord was called Operation “Land Lord”.
The return of the Justice League International characters is always something that I look forward to. Justice League Europe was the very first series I started following from No. #1. The level of characterisation, banter, and the realism to the character’s friendships was amazing. It blew away the old Silver Age reprints I’d been reading. So it is with some obvious trepidation that I approached the return of these well-loved characters. Keith Giffen is a known quantity and is nearly always brilliant – you should be reading Doom Patrol. The attachment of Judd Winick’s name, however, was something that made me slightly nervous. I liked his run on Green Lantern, but his Batman and Superman work didn’t seem to hit the right tone for me.
I needn’t of worried, however, as the pairing of Judd with Keith works really well. There were no obvious Bwah-ha-ha-ha moments here, but it’s interesting to compare this issue with Booster Gold #32 which is written by Keith with J.M. DeMatteis (his original JLI partner). That story is far more of the type we remember from the JLI days – the serious plot overlain with a silly subplot and with enough banter to make a letterer cry for mercy. By comparison, Generation Lost #1 is more sober and less verbose, but it is not so divorced that you feel you’re reading something set in a different universe. Danny@ Comics Bulletin opens his review answering just how series this story is:
Maxwell Lord nearly beats Booster Gold to death with a rock. And the final page has a quote from Baudelaire, and you know a comic book is serious business when you have a literary quote in it–even one so horribly cliché.
The keystone of this story is obviously Maxwell Lord. His treatment in Countdown of Infinite Crisis was, in my opinion, a departure from his previous portrayal. Duh! You say – they made him a villain. But, I don’t mean that. Max was a manipulator from the very start and he had little problem arranging fatal accidents even before he met Metron’s computer. Yes, he was friends with Beetle and co., but he was also utterly ruthless when necessary – when manipulating the Huntress into joining the League or when using the Royal Flush Gang to cause the League to reform in Justice League Spectacular. Take that into account and its not so large a leap to the Max shown here.
When Max is talking to Booster he talks in the same way as the old JLI Max- it feels as if there is some part of the old character remaining. It is interesting that it is this scene which caught the attention of read/Rant, who confessed they weren’t expecting great things from this series, before observing:
My favorite scene by far was the one in which Booster finally got to confront Max regarding Ted’s murder. Max’s response wasn’t at all what I expected. The dynamic between them was more complicated and intriguing than imagined. And it has me excited to see where things are headed.
The Infinite Crisis Max didn’t have anywhere near the same depth and suffered for it.
The art is quite good in places, but this isn’t Kevin Maguire or Bart Sears. Several reviewers have noted Aaron Lopresti’s beautiful work on Wonder Woman, but I’m afraid that doesn’t translate to this title. Maybe it’s Giffen’s breakdowns, but the art is serviceable rather than exciting. The issue is let down by some noticeable gaffes – the colour of Captain Atom’s boots, that the New York Embassy has three and not two stories – but, a causal reader probably wouldn’t notice them. Doug at CBR notes the biggest art problem,
the choice of making the [Kevin] Maguire covers the hard-to-find, expensive-to-buy variant collector’s edition covers
Tony Harris is a great artist, but given the choice I bet its the Maguire covers that most readers will want. I scanned my copy of the regular cover for the image at the top of this review, but I couldn’t find the Maguire cover anywhere (the one shown above is from the PDF preview DC released). I also couldn’t find that many reviews of Generation Lost #1 out there on the web. Only half of the sites I normally poll for the group rating have reviewed it. I hope this doesn’t translate into a wider lack of interest as this is a great first issue.
|Reviews Portal||Comic Book Resources||Doug Zawisza||3/5|
|Reviews Portal||Comics Bulletin||Danny Djeljosevic||2.5/5|
|Reviews Portal||IGN||Dan Philips||7.8/10|
|Community Reviews||Comics Vine User Reviews||Av. of 2 reviews||4.25/5|
|Community Reviews||iFanboy||480 Pulls||4.2/5|
|Reviews Blog||Comic Book Bin||Herve St-Louis||7.5/10|
|Reviews Blog||A Comic Book Blog||Mason Moyer||70/100|
|Reviews Blog||Comics Per Day Reviews||Timbotron||Excellent|
|Character Site||Captain's Justice League Homepage||Jason Kirk||3.5/5|
The Secret Gospel of Maxwell Lord
1.2 Maxwell Lord first appeared in Justice League #1 (May 1987) as a business man who was manipulating the Justice League. He was the chief executive of a generic company called Innovative Concept. Max engineered the United Nations adoption of the new Justice League as the “Justice League International” with himself as its director/UN liaison.
1.4 This is the founding line-up of the Justice League International from Justice League International #7. The mystery of Maxwell Lord was played out over the first year of the title. It was eventually revealed that his ascent was mentored by an alien computer system that had been built by Metron of the New Gods. The League defeated the rogue computer system and “freed” Max from its influence.
1.5 Max didn’t originally have any superpowers, but he was revealed to have the meta-gene when the Dominator’s detonated their gene-bomb. He later explained to the Martian Manhunter in Justice League America #41 (August 1990) (shown above) he developed a subtle mind-control power with the unfortunate side-effect that it gave him a nosebleed. In the original JLI run Max’s power was never shown as full puppetry or telepathy, it was instead more of a nudge or suggestion.
1.6 Max’s death was faked during Gerard Jones’ run the Justice League. That set up Max’s return as a robotic Lord Havok III, but the title was cancelled before that plot line was concluded. Years later, Giffen and DeMatteis returned to the JLI characters for the Formerly Known as the Justice League mini-series and the “I Can’t Believe It’s the Justice League” arc in JLA: Confidential. They explained that the robotic Max was actually a good guy and that he was reforming this old group.
The timing of those arcs was unfortunate, as many of the characters were being used elsewhere and in quite different manners. Geoff Johns had also brought back Maxwell Lord, a full flesh and blood version, in Countdown to Infinite Crisis (March 2005). He was still a manipulator and had usurped control of the USA’s Checkmate intelligence agency. Whether he knew it or not Lord was a pawn of Superboy Prime and Alexander Luthor’s scheme to recreate the old Multiverse. He was responsible for seizing control of Batman’s Brother Eye satellite and for engineering the creation of the OMAC sleeper agents.
2.1 Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle and a founding member of the JLI, discovered that something was wrong and unearthed an evidence trail leading to Maxwell Lord and Checkmate. He broke into Checkmate Castle and was discovered. Maxwell Lord killed Ted and had his body incinerated. However, Batman’s former bodyguard was also working for Checkmate and disagreed with Lord’s directorship. She covertly sent Ted’s shatter goggles to the Batman revealing Ted’s murder and implicating Checkmate.
2.3 As the head of Checkmate Lord had been using his mind control ability on Superman for years – not for all out control, but to prepare him as a potential weapon. The OMAC Project mini-series focused on the investigation into Blue Beetle’s death and Maxwell Lord’s plans for Checkmate. As the heroes closed in he activated the commands in Superman’s mind and made him think that he was fighting enemies when he was actually fighting his friends.
2.5 Wonder Woman confronted Maxwell Lord and the mind controlled Superman. It was clear that Lord’s domination of Superman was so deep that the Man of Steel would always be vulnerable to his assaults. Wonder Woman killed Lord by snapping his neck as it was the only way she could see to permanently free Superman. Brother Eye was horrified at the murder of his mentor and broadcast images of Wonder Woman murdering Maxwell Lord to the world’s media. That started an arc for Wonder Woman that eventually saw her assume a secret identity (Diana Prince) and the Amazons invade Washington DC after Queen Hippolyta thought that the US Authorities had arrested her daughter. That would have been the end of Maxwell Lord if it hadn’t been for Nekron and the Blackest Night.
3.1 This press conference is shown as the cliff-hanger to Booster Gold #32. The red-haired photographer in the audience would be Jimmy Olsen. The heroes with Superman are Hawkman, Plastic Man, the Flash (Barry Allen), the Red Tornado, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan). The presence of the Tornado is interesting as in Justice League of America he’s disembodied as Cyborg is still putting him back together. There will be a second feature based on that which runs parallel to the JLA/JSA crossover. Therefore this issue occurs somewhere after that crossover. The Hall of Justice is shown with other buildings close to it – this may be a new development.
4.1 Additional heroes: Batman (Dick Grayson, notice the belt-buckle), Red Robin (with his back to us), and the Atom (Ray Palmer on the balcony).
4.2 Starfire, Cyborg, Plastic Man, and Wonder Woman. Plastic Man appears to have recovered from the injuries that he endured during Cry For Justice.
4.3 Superman, Vixen, and the original Flash. Like Plastic Man, Vixen appears to have healed her physical injuries from the Blackest Night and Cry For Justice.
4.4 Wildcat, Power Girl, and Mister Terrific
5.1 Booster Gold, as the narration describes, is a time traveller from the 25th Century. He was a disgraced football star who stolen a time machine and power suit from a museum so that he could travel back in time and recapture his former glory, this time as a superhero. Maxwell Lord first introduced himself to the Justice League by engineering Booster Gold’s acceptance as a member. Nowadays Booster works for time traveller Rip Hunter as a sort of fix-it man for the timeline. He does a lot of good work in the timestream, but most of the normal world just remember the shallow airhead who use to hand around with the Ted Kord.
The Moscow Embassy - the JLI had official city-state status within the United Nations. This gave them the right to a secure Embassy in a UN member country and to diplomatic immunity. The main offices were the team’s New York Embassy and then later the Paris/London Embassies when a European team was created. The Moscow Embassy has featured in several story lines with defectors (this was the Cold War era) and the Rocket Reds (Russian’s super-soldiers corps).
6.1 Power Girl is described as a “Super Girl” from another Earth. She is a doppleganger of Kara Zor-El (Supergirl) from the old Earth-Two Universe. Power Girl was a member of the JLI’s European Branch. That’s Jesse Quick in the background.
8.3 There were two double acts in the JLI. The most prominent was Blue and Gold (Blue Beetle and Booster Gold), the other was Fire (originally Green Flame) and Ice (originally Ice Maiden). These two women were members of the international meta-human group the Global Guardians – a group of heroes patterend after the ethnic/international heroes that uses to litter the Super Friends. Fire was a hard living Brazilian supermodel while Ice was a quiet, reversed Norwegian ice goddess (literally).
9.1 Ice was killed by a villain called the Overmaster (actually it was Mark Waid wot done it) and remained dead for quite a while. She returned when Gail Simone resurrected her in a Secret Six/Birds of Prey crossover. Ice has reconnected with her boyfriend, the Green Lantern and fellow JLI member Guy Gardner, but the distance between Earth and Oa has been problematic for their relationship.
9.4 It’s Fire on the laptop.
10.1 The other half of Fire and Ice is Beatriz Bonilla DaCosta. Bea started off as a Brazilian showgirl slash secret agent who was involved with an accident that gave her the ability to breath green flame (like a flame thrower). Her abilities were transformed by the same Dominator bomb that gave Maxwell Lord his powers. She is now a green, female version of the Human Torch. Her back-story was beefed up when Greg Rucka drafted her into the post-Maxwell Lord Checkmate as the Black King’s Knight. The former White Queen blackmailed Beatriz over her pre-JLI activities for Brazilian intelligence and over her father’s earlier activates in support of Brazil’s old dictatorship. Fire was disciplined for her actions, but was given a second chance by the Black King Taleb Beni Khalid-Isr.
11.1 The last ex-JLI member in this issue is Captain Atom. You will rarely meet a character with a more convoluted back-story. He was a Captain in the US Air Force during the 1960s before he was framed for a crime be didn’t commit. Rather than be executed he volunteered to be part in Wade Eiling’s research programme. Sheets of metal from a captured UFO were wrapped around Nate Adam and a nuclear bomb was detonated beneath him. What happened next is open to interpretation, but Adam appears to have been blasted into a place called the Quantum Field where he was transformed into a Quantum Elemental – a frighteningly powerful entity with the ability to manipulate reality at its fundamental quantum level. Un/fortunately Nate Adam isn’t too good at thinking outside the box and rarely realises he posses such power.
By the time Nathaniel Adam merged from the Quantum Field several decades had passed and his children were all grown up. Eiling and the military sized upon Adam as their own tame superhero and christened him Captain Atom. His JLI membership, and that of the Russian Rocket Red, was forced upon the team as a condition of their UN charter. Since then Captain Atom has randomly wavered in and out of the military. He has also spent time exploring the Multiverse as a supervillain called the Monarch. Adam recently returned from that adventure with amnesia and was met by a cautious Justice League as shown in his recent backup run in Action Comics. The good Captain now appears to be working for his old military bosses again.
13.1 Rip Hunter’s laboratory as first seen in 52. Booster is working for Rip, but in unaware that Rip is actually his son from the future. The floating robot is Skeets, a 25th Century museum guide, who accompanied Booster into the past. A Time Bubble can be seen on the right-hand side of the panel.
16.1 In 13.1 Booster theorises that Max has been using the JLI’s old Star Trek style teleporters to move around the world. You can see one of the teleporter pads – nicknames “Tubes” – in the background of this panel.
16.2 Captain Atom has the ability to absorb energy, the problem is that if he absorbs too much, too quickly he can be thrown into the timestream.
18.3 It may be nothing, but this sequence reminds me of the part from Justice League Unlimited “Initiation” where Captain Atom’s skin gets breeched during a mission with Green Arrow and Supergirl.
19.1 The New York Embassy of the JLI. Despite the description as the flagship base, at the time it was depicted as a normal New York brownstone with substandard wiring and construction. Through this issue the Embassy is shown with three floor whereas the original building only had two floor. The JLI were kicked out when the UN revoked their charter.
19.3 More transporter Tubes.
22.1 Notice the old JLI Communicator dislodged from the crates. It shows up in a couple of pages. Not really an important story beat, but it’s a nice example of Chekhov’s Gun.
23.2 The confrontation between Max and Booster mirrors the final confrontation between Max and Blue Beetle. The parallel is probably deliberate, we know that Max killed Booster’s best friend so you have to fear for Booster’s life during this confrontation.
23.6 Here Max touches upon something that we’ve been told will be the central theme of Brightest Day – why each of the resurrected characters was sent back.
27.4 This scene appeared in Brightest Day #0. The differences are that we hear Max talk to himself about the preparations for his telepathic push. He is watched by an invisible Boston Brand (the former Deadman, but still an invisible observer) who comments “Rama help us all not that he’s sucking air again, ’cause if there’s one thing Max Lord’s always been known to have, it’s a plan.”
29 This montage showing people being effected by the mind wipe shows the obvious Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The group bottom-middle are the Royal Flush Gang. Max has twice hired them to fight his own Justice League (the first was in order to manipulate the group’s acceptance of Booster Gold). The armoured figure shown bottom-right is August General In Iron from China’s Great Ten. The three panels showing normal people may just be random scenes.
32.1 Max is shown standing on ramparts. This could be Castle xxx which served as the JLI’s London base after xxxx. .