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Captain Atom: Okay, in the future, you may want to tell us a little sooner when you’ve hijacked every bit of information from the most powerful espionage organisation on Earth.
Skeets: Yes sir.
Fire: What’s your empathy saying now?
Rocket Red: Computers are talking like cocktail party. Big cocktail party.
Synopsis "The More You See, The Less You Will Know"
Maxwell Lord recalls in more detail the vision sent to him by the White Lantern. He sees an older Magog leading a group called the Justice Brigade against a terrified Parasite. Captain Atom grapples with the Parasite, but the villain manages to rip the Captain’s metal skin causing a massive nuclear explosion. The Lantern intones
“It is the future.
A vision of what is to come.
Genocide will occur.
A war will follow.
Stop the War.
One million will die within seconds.
And a war between the powerful will be fought.
Stop the war.
Stop the war.”
Max’s own present day plans are advancing. He has recruited Magog under the pretence that he is still leading Checkmate and has given him the task of killing Captain Atom.
During their last encounter Max had tried to fry Skeets, Booster Gold’s flying robot. Skeets reveals that Max had been trying to hide four Checkmate sleeper cells which he had placed inside robotics laboratories. Skeet discovered them whilst decrypting the intel he hijacked during their near-disastrous incursion into Checkmate. Fire and Ice talk about her wish to leave the JLI for a safe house in Portugal. Ice reveals that she is not going as she could not bear it if anything happening to Fire and she was not around to help her.
Meanwhile in the Bat Bunker, Batman is reviewing monitors showing records of Maxwell Lord. However, all he and Alfred can see are unconnected listings of names and figures. The Batman instinctively recognises that something is wrong and his suspicion is supported by Power Girl who relates her own fight with the C.R.A.S.H. android and a man named Max. They are on the verge of reaching out to the Martian Manhunter and others when they suddenly lose their train of thought and forget what they had been talking about (a post-hypnotic suggestion from Max). Power Girl then asks the Batman for help tracing an ex-employee.
The JLI has split into two teams to investigate the first two Checkmate robotics cells. Rocket Red, Fire, and Ice investigate an abandoned factory in China and discover a laboratory hidden beneath it. However, they are attacked by the Metal Men before they can investigate further.
Wow, a lot happening this issue as many threads all come together. It also felt like it got a bit more attention from the web-critics than the last few issues. Grey @ Inside Pulse writes a long review and hits on one of the key reasons this series works so well:
I have to give Winick some credit here, his Max may have made some dumb moves along the way, but for the most part he’s been creepy brilliant in his execution. You never know what he’s up to, and yet he still feels like a threat and not just because you know he’s supposed to the be the antagonist.
I liked Zack Freeman’s observation that:
The scene where Batman and Powergirl investigate Maxwell Lord only to forget what they’re discussing in mid-sentence was downright spooky. I’ve rarely seen menace underlying a superhero so effectively outside of Morrison’s Animal Man run.
Max is very obviously up to something, but after 10 issues we still don’t know what. This entire Magog/White Lantern subplot started for him a while after his resurrection, but whatever he has planned dates to before the White Lantern vision. It’s that depth of plotting that I find so interesting about this series.
Grey and Doug @ CBR both comment on the title’s tendency to take “a painfully long time” getting anywhere, but then contrast that tendency with issues like this one which rockets along. We get a retelling of the KC future, Max/Magog’s current plans, the Fire/Ice subplot is touched upon, the JLI actually advance their own investigation, and we get a Batman/Power Girl tie-in. This issue’s particular combination of events (an issue “dedicated mostly to arrangement of the pieces on the chess board” as Dan @ IGN puts it) leads Doug @ CBR to conclude that its “easily the high point of Winick’s work on this title”. Given the strength of this title I’d echo Mart’s conclusion that “I’d be seriously surprised were DC not prepared an ongoing JLI book”.
I commented upon Judd Winick’s use of pacing in my review of Power Girl #16 – the way he’ll go from pages-upon-pages of fight-scene-banter to a few hyper-condensed pages of dramatic revelations and plot twists. Well this issue was a case of the latter. It reinforces what has gone before, makes sure we’re all on the same page, and then rockets off for the next set of adventures.
The opening sequence replicates and expands a sequence from Kingdom Come which eliminates the need for anybody to have read the mini-series and nicely makes this series more self-contained. Whoever came to draw that sequence would have been at a disadvantage following Alex Ross’s paints, but Bennett manages capably. As does Felipe Massafera whose variant cover recreates a closer style to Ross’s style. A lot of variant covers are boring, but the sheer variation that they’ve stuffed into Generation Lost has kept my interest up (not that I’ve seen any of them on the stands however). Even Cliff Chiang’s regular Batman cover is brilliant – even if some (e.g. Read/Rant) are disappointed that it didn’t bring a greater plot twist.
Everybody has a favourite penciller on this series and I usually favour Lopresti’s work – the other two artist draw Fire and Ice a to stick thin. However, I do like Bennett’s page layouts – he still evokes the Giffen style regular grids. I’m not sure if that’s his regular style or an affectation for this series, but it gives a nice consistency. Gotta say, that last page with the Metal Men was brilliantly rendered.
|Reviews Portal||Comic Book Resources||Doug Zawisza||3.5/5|
|Reviews Portal||IGN||Dan Iverson||7/10|
|Community Reviews||Comics Vine User Reviews||Av. of 5 reviews||4.5/5|
|Community Reviews||iFanboy||486 Pulls||4.3/5|
|Reviews Blog||Comics Per Day Reviews||Timbotron||Good|
|Reviews Blog||Inside Pulse||Grey Scherl||7/10|
|Character Site||Captain's Justice League Homepage||Jason Kirk||3.5/5|
Variant cover - Take a close look at the variant cover. In common with the Alex Ross KC battle scenes it shows Magog, without his helmet, stood helplessly watching the battle take place around him – he’s stood between Superman and Doctor Fate.
Page 1-4: If you’ve read Kingdom Come you’ll recognise this scene as being something we only glimpse on television monitors. It happens “off-screen” in Kingdom Come #1 and we only learn the full details when Wonder Woman forces Superman to take notice. It is very similar – even Captain Atom’s wound and the farm in the background are the same. The only difference is that Magog’s group is called the Justice Battalion in KC where as its called Justice Brigade in this issue. That may be a deliberate change as we know that this event has already happened elsewhere in the Multiverse to the Magog/Justice Battalion of Earth-22, yet it remains in the future for the Magog/Justice Brigade of Earth-0 (the Earth in Generation Lost).
Page 5 - The sight of the older Superman fighting Captain Marvel comes from the opening pages of the forth-book of Kingdom Come - it’s also on some of the collected covers. Note the prominence given to Red Robin between Superman and Captain Marvel. In the KC future Red Robin is Dick Grayson, the Batman who appears later in this issue. This flash-back/flash-forward/vision is different from that originally shown in Brightest Day #7 and Generation Lost #7, there-in we only really saw Maxwell Lord kill Magog, now we see the directors cut about why Lord was murdering him.
Page 6 - Maxwell Lord is hacking technology from the Old Gods, which isn’t that surprisingly given that the computer he was once partner/slave to belonged to Metron of the New Gods. Magog’s Lance was given to him by the Old God Gog before Magog used it to part Gog’s head from his body. There is a line in the JSA story which this version of Magog first appeared in that the Lance was made by a group of human worshippers. (Click on the above image to show Gog and the Lance’s origin). A plot point in Magog’s own series, picked up in the recent JSA Special, was that Gog had left other “wonder tech” or “god tech” which had been found/abused by cultists. So the Lance isn’t really magical in the Doctor Fate/Zatanna sense, but is definitely godly in origin.
Page 7 – “Terminate with extreme prejudice” is a Vietnam era euphemism for assassination or execution (compare with other sanitized phrases like “collateral damage”). Max’s “Ooh-rah” is a battle cry/catchphrase from the US Marine Corps – Magog, as Lance Corporal David Reid was a member of said Corps. (I don’t know what’s stranger: Max using that cry or Wikipedia having pages on both phrases.)
Page 10-12 – The surprisingly well stocked Trophy Room of the JLI’s German Embassy. The JLI’s European branch was based in first the Paris and then the London Embassies, but they were either destroyed or shut down. Just a theory, but their contents could have been moved to the German embassy for storage. I don’t recognise any of the items (anybody else?), but there could be an early set of Rocket Red armour in there.
Page 13-17 – Power Girl recites an incident that occurred in Power Girl #15.
This scene with Power Girl talking to Batman then continues in Power Girl #16 where she asks his help in tracing an employee called Donna Anderson.
That “Where?” turns out to be the Arctic. Makes you wonder if it isn’t the third of the robotic’s labs that the JLI is chasing.
Page 19 - Rocket Red cites something called Mecha Empathy, the ability of the Rocket Red armour to control computers. Some people have criticised the corniness of the power, but it’s not new. In JLI terms the ability dates back to Justice League International #9 when the Justice League’s original Rocket Red reveals himself to be a Manhunter android and uses this ability to commandeer the JLI’s shuttle craft.
However, Red makes it clear that the normal Rocket Red armour does not have that ability. So it must have been removed from the current generation of Russian armour.
Page 22 - The Metal Men! More on them as necessary next issue. The big robot called Alloy that was part of the Justice Brigade in the opening section is actually a gestalt of the Metal Men.