JLA Vs. Suicide Squad Tie-in! Everything you wanted to know about Maxwell Lord! Machiavellian machinations! Mind manipulation! Mommy issues!
Justice League #12 (DC Comics)
While our regularly scheduled programming will be back next time, this issue takes a fun – and meaningful – detour into the currently running Justice League vs. Suicide Squad miniseries. Rather than continuing to explore the relatively mundane battle between Amanda Waller’s Home for Wayward Villains and the Tights Brigade of Kent and Wayne, however, Tim Seeley and company give us something this reviewer has found lacking in the other series – character development.
Serving as a prequel to that series, the book follows the aforementioned Waller as she interrogates the architect of the conflict between the JLA and Task Force X, Maxwell Lord. Through the interrogation we learn a bit about how the disgraced head of the Checkmate organization became such a jerk. Turns out, like all modern villains, mad Max got it from his mom. Juxtaposed between scenes of train heists and spy raids, we get a glimpse of mama Lord’s – let’s call it enthusiastic – style of parenting. Indeed, the late Mrs. Lord wasn’t about to let her son settle for being anything other than the best, no matter what that meant.
Though the Norman Bates treatment can come off as a bit cliche’ nowadays, the development works and adds a little color to Max’s character. This allows Lord’s use of his manipulative telepathy against his predecessor or Black King of Checkmate a little more nuance than it may have otherwise.
Still, though the flashbacks are fun, the real action is in the interrogation where the dialogue is tight and tense and the close camera work on Lord and Waller never wavers. Christian Duce’s pencils provide a nice bit of emotion to what could potentially be an otherwise by-the-book scene. You can track the shifting power dynamic in the sequence on the characters’ faces, which is exactly what you want to happen in this scenario. The moment when Lord’s influence over Waller is discovered is perfectly captured drama and a great character moment for both the villain and his captor.
Is It Good?
In the end, Justice League #12 is a great tie-in (prequel really) to the Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad series. If anything, it shows that I’d prefer this creative team be handling the book.