Maxwell Lord, Who is the Psychic Psychopath?

Lord Have Mercy

Max: “Ask yourself, how much harm do they bring about? How many crazed psychopaths spin plots just to entangle or destroy them? It pains me. So much promise. So much power. And it seems to go wrong. That is why I have taken it upon myself to watch them. If they choose to put on these uniforms, claim to protect us, then they should be held accountable.”

Justice League: Generation Lost

A man watches several monitors. Heroes and villains are fighting hordes of blue robots. As the camera operators film the battle, reporters talk about the rise of these robots, the OMACs. They disparage the robot’s creator, Maxwell Lord, and reveal that the U.N. has placed a one billion dollar bounty on him.

The man grimaces and begins to concentrate. Blood gushes from his nose as he unleashes a vast wave of telepathic power. Returning his attention to the screen, he sees the reporters talk about the mysterious robots attacking heroes and speculate who could have created them. Wiping away the blood, Maxwell Lord smiles.

Maxwell Lord is one of the DC Universe’s most dangerous villains. Originally a huckster and manipulator, he has been at the heart of DC Comics’ biggest events. So who is he? What is his connection to the Justice League? What is Brother Eye? Let’s find out.

Justice League International: Maxwell Lord’s Backstory

Batman:Let’s get right to the point. We’ve had a serious security breach. I want to know how Maxwell Lord got into our headquarters, how he managed to duplicate our signal device, and why he thinks he can recruit new members for the League.

Justice League #4

Maxwell Lord debuted in Justice League #1 in 1987. He was created by Keith Griffin and J.M. DeMatteis.

Maxwell Lord was the son of a prominent businessman. He came home one day to find his father had committed suicide. The father had unknowingly been selling extremely carcinogenic products and killed himself out of guilt. Max later learned that his father had really been killed by the company’s CEO for opposing the product, leading Max to develop a hatred for authority figures.

As an adult, Maxwell Lord became a successful businessperson. Upon learning that Batman had assembled a new incarnation of the Justice League, Max began acting as their public face and manager. Batman wanted to remain clandestine, so he couldn’t publicly oppose Lord’s takeover and the rest of the team went along with it. The team was sanctioned by the U.N. and dubbed Justice League International

Readers later learned that Max was being manipulated by an alien computer called Killg%re that wanted to take over the world. The Justice League managed to get through to Max, who nearly died destroying Killg%re. Freed from the machine’s influence, Max became the League’s cranky, money-grubbing, but overall good-hearted boss until they disbanded.

The OMAC Project: Maxwell Lord’s History

Max:All I want is to put the Earth’s destiny in the hands of humans, not people pretending to be human, Ted. In the hands of people like me… and people like you.
Blue Beetle:You want me to join you. That’s why you’re telling me all this. Join or die time, is that it?
Max: [draws a gun] “That’s it exactly.
Blue Beetle: Rot in Hell, Max.

Countdown to Infinite Crisis

Maxwell Lord appeared intermittently following the disbanding of the JLI. His most notable appearance was in the event series Invasion!, where he was one of several people affected by a gene bomb. The bomb activated Max’s latent Metagene, giving him the ability to mind control people.

A host of retcons hit Maxwell Lord in the story Countdown to Infinite Crisis. He now hated superpowered beings and had been manipulating events behind the scenes for his own benefit. He took over the spy organization Checkmate and used their resources to hijack an A.I. called Brother Eye, which was created by Batman to spy on the superhuman community.

Max used Brother Eye to infect thousands of people with nanites that would transform them into adaptive cyborg servants called OMACs (Observational Metahuman Activity Construct). He planned to use the OMACs to conquer the world and eradicate all superhumans. Max’s plans were disrupted when his former ally, Blue Beetle, discovered the plot and died trying to stop him.

Blue Beetle’s sacrifice exposed Maxwell Lord’s plan to the Justice League. He mind controlled Superman and ordered him to kill the League’s members. Wonder Woman snapped Max’s neck to free Superman and save the team. Max’s death triggered a fail-safe and Brother Eye activated every OMAC against the heroes. The AI also released a video of Maxwell Lord’s death at Wonder Woman’s hands.

Generation Lost: Maxwell Lord’s Modern Stories

Superman:What are you talking about?
Captain Atom:Max Lord. The international manhunt that’s going on.
Superman:Who’s Max Lord?

Justice League: Generation Lost

Maxwell Lord was dead for a few years before being brought back for Blackest Night. His corpse was reanimated as a Black Lantern, and he attempted to kill Wonder Woman. At the end of the story, he was one of the few Black Lanterns to be resurrected.

The world began hunting for Maxwell Lord, leading him to use his full powers and mind control the entire world into forgetting that he existed. He allowed the Justice League International to retain their memories and began manipulating the team as part of a scheme.

Max planned to kill Wonder Woman as payback for killing him. He combined OMAC technology with genetic engineering and other robotics he had stolen to create his magnum opus: OMAC Prime. The Justice League destroyed OMAC Prime and forced Max to restore the world’s memories of him, but Max escaped and went into hiding.

Control Freak: Maxwell Lord’s Powers and Personality

Tora:You’re not God, Max!
Max:Tora…I can literally control people, I wiped my existence from the memories of everyone on Earth and, oh yeah, I came back from the dead. I’m not saying I’m God…but I am certainly giving the big guy a run for his money, aren’t I?”

Justice League: Generation Lost

Maxwell Lord is a powerful mind controller. He prefers using his powers subtly, pushing others to do minor actions instead of overwhelming victims all at once. His powers seem to affect repeat victims more easily, with Max even claiming that he had so many commands hidden in Superman that the only way to free him would be to kill Max.

All these mental tricks come at a cost. Max’s nervous system suffers when he uses too much of his power or is opposed by someone with a strong will. This usually takes the form of a nosebleed, which has left him just shy of bleeding out on many occasions. Erasing the world’s memory almost killed him, and Max claims he wouldn’t survive trying it again.

Maxwell Lord is a complete control freak. Pre-retcon he took over the Justice League because he thought he knew how to run the team better. Post-retcon, he wants every superhuman other than himself dead and plans to set up a police state with himself in charge.

The Actors Who Play Maxwell Lord

Tim Matheson – Justice League: Unlimited
Gil Bellows – Smallville
Peter Facinelli – Supergirl
Pedro Pascal – Wonder Woman 1984

Didya Get All That?

A psychic lord who isn’t on the side of the angels.

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