Justice League: Generation Lost #10
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Joe Bennett
I hate Magog, I should lead off with that. Despite the fact that, my feelings about Alex Ross aside, I liked Kingdom Come, and even liked Magog in it, his transition into the DC universe quit working for me a few issues after it happened in the first place. The character was originally created by Mark Waid and Alex Ross with the purpose of rolling everything they hated about 90’s superhero comics into one character, which meant that they based him on the Rob Liefeld designs of Cable and Shatterstar. He was ultra violent, killed his opponents, and brought his own brand of unforgiving justice. For the sake of Kingdom Come, he worked, he represented the kind of hero that didn’t fall in line with Superman, I mean, again, he killed his opponents. This was during a time when, in the real world, the flash over substance ultra violent heroes were selling better than the traditional heroes, so it was timely. Unfortunately, bringing him into the DC Universe proper only succeeded in granting readers another character fresh from the early 90’s, only dropped into a time and a market place that had moved away from it. Those of us who loved the big armor and weapons and senseless slaughter of the 90’s had grown up a bit, and while a book like X-Force still has appeal to this reader, Magog just felt like a shoehorned relic from an age he wasn’t even a part of. He was wasted potential for the sake of tieing a book into Kingdom Come, and wound up being the worst part about the first arc of JSA: All Stars, as well as the star of a solo series that was painful for me to read.
So why did I just ramble on about Magog? This book is Justice League! It’s got Booster Gold and Captain Atom! Fire and Ice! Blue Beetle and that new Rocket Red I love so much! And Maxwell Lord!
Well, that’s why, actually. Max Lord’s White Lantern mission is to stop the war by killing Magog, which led me to believe initially that Magog was going to either start a conflict or play a role in another one that would only make things worse. Well, I was wrong, and as I spoiled last night, and as is impossible to review this book without mentioning, Maxwell Lord’s mission is to stop Magog from causing the events of Kingdom Come. That’s right, Generation Lost is now a tied into Kingdom Come AND Brightest Day! Now, while I normally have no qualms with writers working existing storylines into their plots, there eventually comes a time when you have to wonder if it’s really adding to it, or if it’s just trying to create some extra hype.
Kingdom Come would be years down the line in the DC Universe, but Brightest Day promises to be over in about seven months and one would have to assume that this plot will be wrapped up by then as well, which means that Max will be killing Magog long before Kingdom Come has a chance to come to pass, and despite the need for eliminating Magog being crucial, the only way it even ties to Kingdom Come is this issue where they show us a closer take on the destruction of Kansas from KC.
So back to the issue, Max understands his mission, he understands what Magog will do, but now it’s up to him to let the domino’s topple over as he sets up to do what he’s been brought back to do. Ever the master manipulator, he’s doing so by bringing Magog under his command to take down Captain Atom, playing his enemies against one another until he’s ready to strike. I have to give Winick some credit here, his Max may have made some dumb moves along the way, but for the most part he’s been creepy brilliant in his execution. You never know what he’s up to, and yet he still feels like a threat and not just because you know he’s supposed to the be the antagonist. Generally after ten issues if I don’t know why someone is doing what they’re doing, I’m frustrated, but with this book I keep finding myself eagerly jumping in to each new issue hoping that I might come out of it with a clearer idea of his end game, and finishing each issue wanting that next issue to see if it happens there.
Fire and Ice had a great, and long overdue, moment in this issue as Tora’s desire to get out and far away from all of this is brought up by Bea. The panels that ensue could easily be misconstrued by newer audiences as, unless I’m really outdated with message board talk, him implying that the two have a ‘more than friends’ relationship, and I only note this because somebody has already asked me what I thought about him doing it, but I honestly don’t see it. I see two friends that love each other more than anything and have a true and honest bond that transcends romance. Sure, I’m not going to snuggle up to my guy friends, and if I did I would more than likely deserve the punch in the ribs and awkward looks I would receive, but it’s still a believable scene. One thing Winick does excel at is the human moments with these characters, and despite his faults, that’s something he tends to do right.
From there we’re treated to the guest star promised by the cover as Batman continues to try and unravel the mystery of Max Lord, despite that due to Max’s mind control Dick and Alfred are looking at an image of Wonder Woman breaking Max’s neck, and all they see are listings of people named Max Lord. Something that Dick just doesn’t believe for some reason. This is where the issue ties in to another Winick title, Power Girl, as Kara shows up to talk about Max. In the last issue (last months, not the one from this week where this scene fits in nicely) she fought an android up until a man teleported in to retrieve it and told her “I’m the man in charge. I’m Max.”, and now she believes that maybe this is the Max Lord that Booster kept going on about. Of course, what comes out of this is one of the more clever points of the issue as we see the full range of Max Lord’s clever brand of being a jackass. It’s a nice little interlude that takes nothing away from the issue, and if anything, beefs up Max Lord without even needing him to appear.
As the issue draws to a close, we’re given more knowledge about the capabilities of our new, and awesome, Rocket Red, before the cliffhanger strikes in to make me wish the next issue wasn’t coming out on the day I leave town for a week.
I’ve been a fan of Joe Bennett’s work for quite a few years now, and he’s one of the reasons why this book is great to me. The rotating art team of him, Aaron Lopresti, and Fernando Dangino have been working well, and each brings something to the table that leaves the book feeling consistent even with three artists taking turns. This issue looks good, and I really did enjoy Bennett’s rendition of an infamous Kingdom Come scene.
At the end of it all, was it a good issue? Yes, it was, but should you buy it if you haven’t been buying Generation Lost? To be honest, the more I read this book and Brightest Day the more I realize that these are titles that you either are reading, or you’re not, because they aren’t really designed to be picked up in the middle. If this was your first issue of the book you might be able to figure out what’s going on, but you’d still be lost. At the same time, if you’ve been on board from the beginning, then chances are you’re going to enjoy it. As it stands, this is far from the best issue of the series so far, but it’s still a solid effort as Winick pushes the story forward, and at this point we’re about a month removed from the halfway point of the series.
Tags: Booster Gold, Brightest Day, Captain Atom, Joe Bennett, Judd Winick, Justice League International, Justice League: Generation Lost, Kingdom Come, Magog, Reviews