Monday, January 25, 2010
1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment Lord Havok Trading Card #78
Justice League International started out as a mostly serious super-hero series with moments of levity, before descending into total tomfoolery. Maxwell Lord started out as a murderous, manipulative slimeball underling of a legitimate threat, before ascending into a redemptive if morally gray supporting character. Instead of continuing on a positive trajectory, JLI became a particularly bad example of generic, trend-hopping, painfully overwrought group books. Max Lord, following suit, was turned into the second version of a Dr. Doom knock-off only ever intended to figure into one story. The heel turn totally undercut one of J.M. DeMatteis' better characterizations, but I was never that attached to Max, and he seemed only partially responsible for his newly villainous actions. Since J'Onn J'Onzz was a friend and inspiration to Lord at one time, I sat back, and waited for their inevitable confrontation.
...and waited some more. "Lord Havok" even had an evil brother show up and get executed by White Martians masquerading as the super-team the Hyperclan, but Max never seemed to spare a thought about fighting the Martian Manhunter. A decade on, DeMatteis was even given the opportunity to "fix" Max Lord, restoring him to his former self in a pair of JLI reunion mini-series. Unfortunately, Greg Rucka and others decided to apply an even more ridiculous about face to Lord, implying that his days working alongside super-heroes were all spent undermining their effectiveness and plotting their demise. Thus, the entire JLI (including the Dark Knight and Martian Detectives, one with telepathy) were made fools of retroactively, just so a pathetic bid at making readers take Wonder Woman seriously could be had. The Amazing Amazon, you see, had to execute Lord to save the world from his threatened mind control of Superman. Gee, I wonder if the Martian Manhunter could have helped out there, too?
So it goes that a perfectly reasonable candidate for the Vile Menagerie, with strong motivation against our hero, got misused and wasted by a heroine who had next to nothing to do with Maxwell Lord. They even recently revived Lord as a Black Lantern, the same corps zombie J'Onn calls home... to taunt Wonder Woman for an issue. Add Rucka to my long list of writers who do nothing but get in the way of my reading pleasure.
Anyway, above is painted art by Tony Harris, misapplied toward a worthless corpse.