“Part One: Gone but Not Forgotten”
Story: Keith Giffen & Judd Winick
Script: Judd Winick
Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Penciller: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Editor: Michael Siglain
In the aftermath of the Blackest Night, Maxwell Lord has returned, and Earth’s heroes have teamed up with Checkmate to hunt him down. While Captain Atom, Fire and Ice investigate an energy spike in
Page 1: Maxwell Lord IV, first appeared in Justice League #1. Able to control the minds of others, accompanied by a toll on his body, usually in the form of a nosebleed. Last appeared in Blackest Night #8.
Note that Lord’s appearance in this story, for the most part, takes place before his appearance in Brightest Day #0. Presumably this story takes place shortly after Max’s resurrection in Blackest Night #8, since I can’t see him waiting too long to enact his plans.
Panel Four: The group shot of the Justice League International, is a recreation of the poster released by DC Comics shortly after Justice League International #7 was released. Drawn by Kevin Maguire, it features Maxwell Lord, Captain Atom, Rocket Red #7, Batman, Martian Manhunter, Guy Gardner, Black Canary, Mister Miracle, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold and Oberon. Man, I loved that poster…
Actually, I loved the J.L.I. Loved it, loved it, loved it. It was one the first titles I remember collecting from the beginning, and I thoroughly enjoyed every damn issue, so this new series is a treat for me, even though scripter J.M. DeMatteis isn’t involved.
Page 2: Maxwell Lord shot and killed Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle, after Kord found out that Lord was the secret head of Checkmate in Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1.
Superman, under the mental control of Maxwell Lord, nearly killed Batman in The Adventures of Superman #642.
In an effort to put an end to Maxwell Lord’s plans, Wonder Woman snapped his neck in Wonder Woman (second series) #219.
Page 3: Assembled in front of the Hall of Justice are Hawkman (Carter Hall), Plastic Man (Patrick “Eel” O’Brian), the Flash (Barry Allen), Red Tornado (John Smith), Superman (Kal-El/Clark Kent), Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan).
A few things to note. First, Plastic Man, last seen in Justice League of America (second series) #40, isn’t doing so well lately. As a result of his battle with Prometheus in Justice League: Cry for Justice #6, Plaz can’t seem to control his body’s elastic nature anymore.
Secondly, Red Tornado is currently without a body. Cyborg is working to build a new one for him, but, as of this story, Reddy is a just a head hanging out in the JLA Watchtower.
Third, Superman’s presence here on Earth is a bit strange, if only because I assume that, as of this story, New Krypton is still intact and the War of the Superman has yet to occur. So why the Man of Steel is even on Earth right now is a bit of a mystery.
Page 4: At the Bat-Bunker, Batman deals with the intel side of things. Present here are Red Robin (Tim Drake), Plastic Man (still looking good), Green Lantern, the Flash (wearing the wrong costume, but maybe he’s just trying out a new one), Hawkman, Wonder Woman and the Atom (Ray Palmer).
Cyborg (Victor Stone) and Starfire (Koriand’r) join Plastic Man and Wonder Woman. Superman teams up with the Flash (Jay Garrick) and Vixen (Mari Jiwe McCabe). Wildcat (Ted Grant), Mister Terrific (Michael Holt) and Power Girl (Kara Zorl-El/Karen Starr) strike off on their own.
Page 5: Booster Gold, real name Michael Jon Carter. First appeared in Booster Gold (first series) #1. Possesses advanced technology that grants him flight, power blasts, force fields, enhanced strength and other abilities.
Page 6: Power Girl, real name Kara-Zor-El, known as Karen Starr on Earth. First appeared in All-Star Comics #58. Possesses standard Kryptonian superhuman strength, speed, invulnerability, senses and flight.
Panel Two: That’s Jesse Quick running amidst the laser fire as Power Girl tackles Booster Gold to the ground.
Page 7: “This is you and the J.L.I.’s legacy!” Power Girl’s a little bit harsh, and a tad hypocritical. She, like Booster, served as a member of the J.L.I, and is equally responsible for its “legacy.”
Page 8: Ice, real name Tora Olafsdotter. First appeared in Justice League International #12. Able to generate and project ice and snow.
Page 9: “But then she died.” Ice was killed while battling the Overmaster in Justice League Task Force #14.
“And came back…but that was before the Blackest Night.” Ice returned to life in Birds of Prey (first series) #104.
Page 10: Fire, real name Beatriz Bonilla DaCosta. First appeared in The Super Friends #25. Able to transform into a being of flame, fly, and project fire.
Most recently, Fire has been a member of Checkmate, acting as the Black King’s Knight.
Page 11: Captain Atom, real name Nathaniel Adam. First appeared in Captain Atom #1. Connected to the Quantum Field, which grants him superhuman strength, speed, invulnerability, flight, energy blasts and energy absorption.
Page 13: Rip Hunter’s Time Lab made its first appearance in 52 Week Six. The blackboard is frequently covered with hints and teases to the future of the DC Universe.
Hanging out with Booster is his pal Skeets, an artificial intelligence security robot from the 25th century. He’s Booster’s right hand man…er, robot.
Page 17: Captain Atom got off lucky this time. In the past, when he attempted to absorb too much energy, his body would “quantum leap” either forward or backward in time.
Page 19: The
Page 20: “CRACK” Ouch. That looked like it hurt.
Page 21: “I’m glad it was you. I really am.” In Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1, Maxwell Lord tells Ted Kord, “I’m glad it’s you who found me here.” Max is attempting to connect with Booster, since they are both “normal” humans in a world of metas.
“Go to hell.” Before Max short Ted, the Blue Beetle told his friend, “Rot in hell, Max.”
Page 23: “I am doing what I have always done – right from the beginning.” To make a long story short, years ago Max became convinced that the best way to save the world was to take it over. And the easiest way to do that was with an international team of super-heroes. Hence, he manipulated the Justice League and arranged it so that the group would be U.N.-sanctioned. He later had a change of heart, after he realized that he was being manipulated by an alien computerized intelligence. Hey, it’s happened to me, too…
“Right from when I found you and marched you – right there – through the door to the Justice League of
However, Max and Booster didn’t walk into the J.L.I. embassy, mainly because it didn’t exist yet. They walked into the Secret Sanctuary, which the Justice League was using as its base at the time.
“Who’s right?” Max does have a point; why is he back? Yes, I know, the writers had a cool story for him and brought him back. But, in the context of Brightest Day and the DC Universe, how does he rank up there with Aquaman, J’onn J’onzz and the Hawks and deserve to return?
Page 24: Booster is fiddling with one of the old J.L.I. signal devices to send out a distress call.
Pages 26-27: This scene corresponds to Brightest Day #0, pages 21-23, in which Maxwell Lord pushes his mental abilities to the limit, causing everyone in the world to forget his existence. In addition to Booster Gold, Skeets, Captain Atom, Fire and Ice, Boston Brand, the former Deadman seems immune to the effects of Max’s power.
Pages 28-29: Yep, pretty much the whole world gets a taste of Max’s mental whammy.
Page 30: For the record, Maxwell Lord received his mental abilities after the Gene Bomb was detonated by a rogue Dominator in Earth’s atmosphere in Invasion! #3. His abilities first manifested in Justice League International #24.
Page 31: “Who’s Max Lord?” Not a good sign. Definitely not a good sign.
Page 32: Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a 19th century poet and critic. While much of his work and philosophical proclamations were considered scandalous at the time, his influence of modern French literature was considerable.
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.” Baudelaire wrote this in his 1864 short story, “The Generous Gambler.” This line was also used in the 1995 film The Usual Suspects, to explain the story of Keyser Söse.
By the way, for those of you who weren’t able to enjoy the exploits of the J.L.I. back in their own series (translation: you aren’t in your thirties), and you don’t feel like searching for hard-to-find back issues, then pick with DC’s Justice League International hardcover collections. The four volumes collect the first two and a half years of J.L.I., loads of fun for everyone…