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Sunday, December 20, 2020 

Some articles about Max Lord

With Wonder Woman 1984 debuting this month, here's some more propaganda pieces mostly centered on the much abused Max Lord, who originally began as a financial benefactor for the Justice League in 1987. For example, Screen Rant had the following to say about what's occurred in the 768th issue (they actually restored legacy numbering after all these years!), and it's pretty gross:
Once the benefactor of the Justice League, Lord revealed his true colors during the buildup to Infinite Crisis in 2005, where he killed his former friend Blue Beetle in cold blood. He then used his mind-control powers to make Superman his pawn. The influence of Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth forced Lord to reveal that only killing him would free Superman, and Diana regretfully - though immediately - broke his neck. Lord returned at the end of Blackest Night and has been menacing the DC Universe since. Recent issues of Wonder Woman have forced Lord to team up with the woman who killed him, and it has made for some awkward exchanges. Through it all, Wonder Woman wanted to believe Lord had changed, but it was not to be, as Lord betrayed her. Sadly, this was followed by the arrival of a larger threat; Lord’s daughter, who has his powers and calls herself Liar Liar.

At the end of the last issue. Liar Liar had made her way into her father’s jail cell. Readers learn she stabbed him, and he is now in critical condition. Though it had been suggested Lord did not know of her until her teenage years, this issue reveals that was a lie, and while he paid for her medical care, he did nothing else for her; no visits and no gifts at the holidays. Maxwell Lord was a deadbeat dad in every possible way, making him even scummier than before. Unfortunately, Lord’s neglect of his daughter led her to hate him, and she has just seemingly tried to kill him in revenge.
They just won't let up on the character assassination, will they? Indeed, no. To the point where this daughter of his definitely tries doing it. It's made all the more ludicrous and offensive to the intellect given that, while in this rendition, Lord may never have spent time with this Liar Liar, he never physically abused her, so it's horrific she should set out to murder him, and the worst part is that we're likely not supposed to care, because according to the powers that be, he's a villain unquestioned, and deserves whatever he gets, no matter how petty the surrounding issue. Now that's scummy alright.

Surprisingly, the article does acknowledge Lord didn't begin as a criminal:
When Lord first appeared in the 1980’s, he was definitely not entirely on the side of angels, but he was a harmless moneyman. Over the years, the veil was peeled back and his true, dark self was revealed, extending his sins beyond his personal enemies and humanity's heroes to his own family. Wonder Woman wondered if Lord was beyond redemption, and the answer may be yes. Movie audiences will meet Maxwell Lord on Christmas Day this year when Wonder Woman 1984 premieres. The trailers have not revealed much about Lord’s role in the movie, but it is clear he is one of the bad guys. Comic book fans have known this for a while, but Wonder Woman #768 shows that even for them, Lord can still be surprising.
What we've known is that the recently ousted Dan DiDio, along with Greg Rucka, Geoff Johns and Judd Winick, who co-wrote Countdown to Infinite Crisis, saw nothing wrong with turning Lord into something almost as horrific as the role the Atom's ex-wife Jean Loring was forced into. Roles they were never created in when they originally debuted. On which note, until the mid-2000s, Lord never had super-powers before, so the step was double-contrived. Yet SR lets it all pass without critical comment, adding more proof of where they really stand to the whole mess. Nor do they make a logical distinction between fiction and reality when they get around to telling us about his "true, dark self".

Now, here's another article from Fandom Wire about Lord's history as a character, which does clarify that he originally began as honest if anti-heroic, and was anything but the thug he was forced into becoming since the mid-2000s, In addition, it notes that Lord's creators were far from pleased with the modern retcon:
Maxwell Lord was introduced in Justice League #1 (1987), by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire during their “Bwa-Ha-Ha” era of Justice League, which is known for taking a more comical approach to the superhero team. Max was portrayed as a shady, opportunistic businessman, but it was revealed he was taken over by a villainous computer. When he was freed of it’s control, he became more amoral, but he grew to become more heroic as the series went on. You may be wondering how a character from a comic known for its humor ended up in a movie within the more down-to-earth universe like the DCEU, but that is due to Infinite Crisis.

During Infinite Crisis, Batman created a spy system called “Brother Eye”, which Maxwell Lord, as leader of the superhero organization Checkmate, wanted to take over. His former Justice League teammate Blue Beetle caught on, and Max executed him. During this event, Max’s previously weak psychic powers were increased, and he was revealed to be secretly evil during the entirety of his DC history, including during the “Bwa-Ha-Ha” era Justice League, and its sequel series’ Formerly Known as the Justice League and I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League, with the latter two being developed during the same time as Infinite Crisis. Last year, when J.M. DeMatteis was asked about it, he posted on Twitter “People have been asking if I was disturbed when Max Lord was turned into a villain. Yes and no. Yes, because it didn’t fit our vision of the character; no because that’s the way it works in comics.” A few months ago, he elaborated on this by saying “When we started out on that book they were somebody else’s characters, so somebody else was complaining about what we did… “ he went on the say “…that’s the nature of the beast in comics, and those stories, I’ve kind of felt, exist in their own universe anyway.”
I never find it great when writers maintain a certain degree of what we call diplomacy, and won't go full force in slamming PC advocates who lead to artistic embarrassments. Nevertheless, it's fortunate to know deMatties, however restrained he is in his criticism, is willing to admit he's disappointed at the editorially mandated steps taken with Max over the past 15 years, which'll probably never be reversed so long as DC still exists in its current incarnation. Honestly, if the creators are let down, they should send a message by not tuning in to see WW1984, even if it's broadcast on VOD channels.

And let's not forget the sequel movie looks to be using Lord as a stand-in for a Donald Trump metaphor, which makes it all the more divisive. We could do without that too.

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Wonder Woman TDS

"On which note, until the mid-2000s, Lord never had super-powers before, so the step was double-contrived."

He actually had mild mind control powers when he debuted in the late 1980s. He could influence people into doing things they didn't have a mind to do, which is how he got some of the JL members to join. When he used his power, he would always get a nose-bleed.

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