Maxwell Lord


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Maxwell Lord

(pop culture)
Maxwell Lord, created by Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire, pulled a lot of strings to reorganize DC Comics' mightiest superhero team in Justice League #1 (1987) and reestablish the League as a global peacekeeping force. “How he does it, no one is quite certain,” wrote editor Andrew Helfer in his introduction to a 1989 compilation of the series' first seven issues. “Connections are crossed, mistakes are made, characters enter and leave—and only one thing is certain: Max did it.” Max didn't do it alone. Working in tandem with a sentient computer from the planet New Genesis, Lord, the smiling, smarmy, comic-book equivalent of Donald Trump, was duped by the alien machine, which had an ulterior motive of world domination (Justice League International #12, 1988). The Justice League forgave him. A “metabomb” detonated by alien invaders (Invasion!, 1988–1989) activated Lord's ability to manipulate—or “push”—minds, which Max periodically used to persuade superheroes to join his superteam. The Justice League forgave him. After several years of hero manipulation, Lord died of a brain tumor and was resurrected as Lord Havok II, a murderous robot, in a mid-1990s storyline. DC Comics executive editor Dan DiDio forgave him. DiDio announced on the 2005 comics-convention trail, “We thought about that aspect of the story and then asked, ‘Did anyone read it?' No. ‘Did anyone like the idea?' No. So we moved ahead with Max as being a human.” Human with the “metahuman” power of mind-pushing, that is. Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1 (2005), a one-shot launching a massive crossover event, disclosed that Lord actually distrusted the superhero community (“All I want is to put Earth's destiny in the hands of humans, not people pretending to be human”), and had used his Justice League connections to learn their weaknesses and conspire against them. When Justice Leaguer Blue Beetle discovered the truth, Lord put a bullet through Beetle's brain. Throughout various DC titles during the summer of 2005, Lord attacked heroes with killer machines called OMACs, and he used his own superpower to “push” Superman into a bloody battle with Batman and Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman did not forgive him. In Wonder Woman vol. 2 #219 (2005), the Amazon Princess stopped the power-mad Lord the only way she knew how: by snapping his neck. The menace of Maxwell Lord was over, but repercussions from his machinations will no doubt affect the DC superheroes for years to come. Tim Matheson played Max Lord (in his pre–Infinite Crisis incarnation) in the “Ultimatum” episode (original airdate: December 4, 2004) of the Cartoon Network's Justice League Unlimited (2004–present).