Friday, May 6, 2011

Writers Block: Maxwell Lord Friend or fiend? Part 4


Okay this is going to be a little harder to break down since Giffin also helped plot with Winick for the start of JLGL. In Booster Gold this team go the extra mile to point out that Max was a good guy, which I believe is just after it was pointed out in JLGL. They do so from Boosters' POV whether it's having him have conflicting feelings when meeting Max in the past, defending him/the JLI against slanderous remarks, or just venting to Skeets. I know that an arugment could be made for this version going against Jurgens' but again Jurgens take was a very emotional Booster at Teds' funeral. I don't think he was happy with what Wonder Woman did, just wanted to understand and give voice to what he was feeling. This Booster doesn't really know how to cope, probably because he never really had a chance to before Max was killed. The Max in the alternate reality hadn't killed Ted and all he was focused on was keeping Ted and reality alive.  Although I do have to question where Boosters' sudden desire to kill Max comes
from since it doesn't really fit the scene  nor the character. Also the many steps back in Boosters' grieving process that ignores his previous acceptance of Teds' death.

Although Max is only briefly seen in the past and most of his depth is given through Booster's POV this is a huge improvement over the dull evil versions Johns and Rucka wrote. He cared about the league and they in return cared about him. It's the conflict that drives the story and makes it fascinating. Little details that meant everything are ignored under previous writers while Giffin/DeMatteis (and Winick in JLGL) let these elements bloom. Which results in better crafted stories with real pathos. Not to say I loved everything Giffin/DeMatteis did with BG. I didn't. But when it comes to Max Lord they know above everyone else that he's not just a
cardboard cutout villain.

(On yet another unrelated note I like the detail on the last panel with Rani clinging to Rip while he's talking to a hurt Booster.)


  1. Did Giffen and DeMatteis create Max? If not, they certainly did the most to flesh out his personality and character. He was a scheming, greedy 80's business man, who actually was more than he seemed. He had his downs of course, but really, for the most part, I think that people LIKED Max back in the old days! I know that I did. And his interaction with Oberon and later with L-Ron was simply priceless.

    I...miss the humor mostly. Everything is so deadly serious nowadays. It particularly irks me when snotty superheroes like Superman and Hal and Cyborg make sneering comments about the JLI. They managed to enjoy themselves, but dang it, they fought some pretty hardcore villains too!

    Um...I'm starting to wander from the point. I think that Giffen and DeMatteis would be perfectly happy to bring back good Max...not to mention Ted, and Ralph and Sue and anyone else that they had so much fun writing about. I remember reading about Kevin Maguire being just outraged when Dan Dideo took him aside and told him what they were going to be doing to their beloved characters.

  2. Yeah, they came up with him. I think Giffin referred to him as more of a plot device than a character, at least at first. They weren't really sure who he was at the start. It made me smile to see his quote about Max being the one behind every question you had to why things occurred being true in JLGL.

    I don't think the current humor has been that bad. And really the over the top way G/D write the characters now doesn't mesh as well as it did then, granted I think their style was written better then. The checkmate break in had a lot of humor without breaking the suspense of the moment. I liked it a lot. That's one thing Johns added to BG that I think backfired a bit. Sure having heroes stick their noses up at him makes you feel for Booster/JLI but it also makes them look like jerks.

    Giffin never seemed to really care, he told a cosplayer of Ted to "get over it, he's dead." DeMatteis strikes me of someone who just goes with the flow. His answers in BG interviews seemed to imply they just come up with things with on the fly. He's said that he didn't reseach things while writing JLI and trusted Giffin to correct things. I don't want Ted back for a lot of reasons, I don't agree with the deaths but I am tired of bringing back characters.