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I’d Pick Some Other Character to be the Evil Head of Checkmate

Maxwell Lord was just appearing in Formerly Known as the Justice League, so I’d have picked some other old school DC character to be the SHOCKING bad guy in charge of Checkmate.

Heck, I think I’d even trade Ted Kord’s death for Maxwell Lord not being the bad guy.

19 Comments

I’m still hoping this will be fixed someday. I’ve seen no sign that anyone at DC thinks it was a bad idea or something that needs to be changed, but maybe in time.

these are cool so far! (maybe they should be consolidated though…)

i’d have made steve rogers die in a blaze of glory

Maxwell Lord _was_ originally conceived as a bad guy. But I hated the bwahaha league, so I guess I am biased.

He was, but then they decided it’d be more interesting if he was just not-evil enough that the League would keep him around.

Andrew Collins

March 15, 2008 at 4:13 pm

It’s funny, I was just reading the new JLI hardcover they put out and you can already see in the first seven issues where he the transition began from evil-intentioned businessmen to well-intentioned PT Barnum. Giffen & DeMatteis & Helfer recognized some viability and likability about the character from the get go. He was a self-involved jacka$$ and could be manipulative when he wanted to be, but he was never a psychopathic killer. I had no problem with DC playing Max a little more seriously than the Bwa-ha-ha version, but I never bought him being the ‘evil overlord’ of Checkmate who would shoot Ted in the head like that.

That was where DC started to lose me after gaining me back for the first time since Zero Hour. Sadly now I only buy 2-3 DC books and instead focus on enjoying their older output that is finally being properly collected, such as JLI and O’Neil’s Question and (soon) Robinson’s Starman Omnibuses…

I agree, but I must say it seems VERY late to be saying so…

At the very least, there should have been some incident that made Max turn evil, instead of “I WAS LIKE THIS ALL ALONG, HA HA HA!”

But I don’t think Johns was really writing Max Lord in that scene (and Johns wrote the scene, it’s patently obvious it’s him). I think he was writing everyone who’s ever told him he’s a loser for liking superheroes, and he had Ted STAND UP and–

–die.

I agree, but I must say it seems VERY late to be saying so…

Have you missed what is going on today? :)

i heard somewhere that they considered making Loren Jupiter fill the position of evil checkmate ruler instead of Maxwell Lord. I think that would have been great.

Andrew Collins

March 15, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Who is Loren Jupiter?

Loren Jupiter was briefly the boss of the Teen Titans back in the day. The problem with using him would be that nobody would know or care who he was.

I’d have used Pete Ross.

Mr. Jupiter, a millionaire who funded the Teen Titans, back in their pre-Wolfman and Perez days.

Probably too obscure for their purposes. But still, if they were going to use Max, they could’ve just have him possessed by Lord Havoc or something, instead of ruining all those stories for us JL fans.

Then again, that the current DC spits on anything remotely resembling a funny hero is obvious. It’s not just the “Bwa Ha Ha” League, it’s also Blue Devil, Ambush Bug, the Inferior 5, etc. Everybody’s gotta be dark or dead to sell, right? :(

Critics of the JLI period ignore that it was a period of strong characterization, something DC can’t really handle now. The Giffen League was in some ways, the story of how heroes make the world better..not by saving the day, but saving people just by their example. Max started as someone out for a buck, but as it went on, he was someone doing more to make the world a better place than anything Bruce Wayne has ever done.

Maybe Amanda Waller?

Nah, Waller’s even less evil. She always struck me as Max’s polar opposite- rude and unpleasant and undiplomatic, but with a personal integrity beyond question.

Not that Jeph Loeb and the other early-aughts Superman writers seemed to understand that Waller is a basically decent person. Greg Rucka — one of those writers, after all — apparently still hasn’t worked it out.

I hated the decision to kill Ted Kord and reveal Maxwell Lord as evil, just like everyone else. It undermined a title a liked a lot in the JLI.

One thing that you can say is that they had a clear connection that created some shock value. The shock value sold a lot of crappy DiDio cross-over books. If you replace Max Lord, then you have to replace Ted Kord as the doomed character as well.

Loren Jupiter would need to kill one of the original five Teen Titans to have a similar effect. From a character standpoint, that is probably better. Wally West and Dick Grayson are too big go out that way. Garth and Donna Troy have been monkeyed with too much. That leaves Roy Harper.

Dying too young in an act of heroic redemption ACTUALLY FITS THAT CHARACTER, as opposed to Ted Kord. Unlike Kord, Roy Harper has stuff to atone for. Thinking it through just underlines how lazy and sloppy the story-telling was.

Personally, I thought it was a pretty good twist and not all that out of keeping with Max’s character. Re-read Maxwell Lord’s origin sometime. He plots to kill his boss on a spelunking expedition — he’s not just “BWAH-HA-HA”ing all the time.

To me, “Why do you think I kept the Justice League ineffectual for all those years?” did a lot to justify some pretty stupid stuff from the JLI-era. Not that a lot of it wasn’t funny, but it’s not what the Justice League should be.

When the time comes, though, he can’t go through with it. It’s not him. To me that boundary was important.

And explaining away the JLI’s ineptitude is almost insulting- they can’t just be a fun ragtag bunch of misfits, it all has to be some evil plot to keep the League down.

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