Justice League: Generation Lost #2 (2010)

Justice League: Generation Lost #2 (Late July, 2010)
“Max’ed Out”
Script – Judd Winick
Breakdowns – Keith Giffen
Penciller – Joe Bennett
Inker – Jack Jadson
Colors – Hi-Fi
Letterer – Pat Brosseau
Assistant Editor – Rex Ogle
Editor – Michael Siglain
Cover Price: $2.99

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Here’s something to help you digest.

Picking up a little after last issue, the old JLIers are attempting to show Superman some pretty choice footage of Wonder Woman.  Oddly, instead of seeing her snap Maxwell Lord’s neck, he only sees her holding her sword aloft in a He-Man pose.  Worth noting, Superman seems to have no time for our Bwah-ha-ha buddies… he’s really rather short with them.

A bored and impatient Superman then takes his leave, but not before giving Captain Atom orders to “stand down”.  The Checkmate mix-up last issue along with this bit of “odd” behavior is a bit too much for him.

The Super-Buddies then look inward and start arguing among themselves.  Booster’s ticked that the rest of his “friends” took their sweet time responding to his signal… to which, Captain Atom attempts to put things in perspective by comparing a nuclear bomb exploding with being thwomped by a pipe.  Skeets thankfully interrupts to give his (its?) two cents on the situation… and deduces that the assembled foursome might be the only people on the planet with any memory of Maxwell Lord.

We shift scenes to the Batcave where Booster Gold is visiting with new Batman, Dick Grayson.  Dick, like Superman before him, has absolutely no recollection of Max Lord.  It’s here that we learn that in making the world forget about him, Max also made it so stories where he had been integral have been rewritten… at least mentally.  Restarting the Justice League post-Crisis/Legends?  Bruce Wayne did that.  Hijacking the OMAC Project?  That was Lex.  Blue Beetles murder?  Well, actually… Ted committed suicide!  Really neat bits here.  Maybe contemporary Marvel and DC should hire a fella like Max Lord to make things “fit”.

Another scene shift, and this time it’s Fire visiting with Wonder Woman.  They have a terse exchange, wherein Diana takes great offense at the very thought that she’d break a man’s neck.  After running Fire down some, she dismisses her.

We next join Ice as she’s chatting up her old beau, Guy Gardner.  It… could’ve gone better.

More members of the hero community are called upon… and none of them have the foggiest idea what a Maxwell Lord is.  Even Oracle is stumped!

Last stop on the “tour” takes us to Davis Mountain Air Force Base in Arizona.  Captain Atom is there to brief a general and his staff… and is shocked to find that he’s not the only Meta on the premises.  Our old friend David Reid… Magog, is also there.  What’s more, he wants ol’ Nate to turn himself in!

Making matter much worse, when Cap sees the General… he looks like Max!  Atom lunges forward and chokes him out before realizing that… well, he’s got the wrong guy.  Magog declares him under arrest!

Realizing just how royally he just screwed up, Captain Atom attempts to turn himself in.  Unfortunately, Magog’s more in the mood for a fight.  Reid charges in… and Nate goes atomic!

Back in New York, the four JLIers reconnoiter… and discuss the events of their pretty rotten day.  They posit that Max kept them “in the know” only so he could ruin them.  He’s discredited and shamed them all… it’ll take a lot of rehabbing for any of them to be taken seriously ever again.  Well, maybe not Booster.  Max hasn’t done anything to him… which Skeets suggests is by design.  Any slams against Booster’s credibility would be… redundant.

Booster’s had about enough.  His friends are being dragged through the mud, and the world believes his best friend killed himself.  He declares that they will find Max Lord!

We wrap up with Skeets reporting that a “flutter” from the ancient JLI computer systems just started up… and it’s coming from El Paso, Texas.  Not only that, but the signal belongs to… the Blue Beetle?!

I mentioned the last time that we discussed this series that this was part of my grand return to comics after a lengthy bout of unemployment.  This really could have made or broke me… a poor showing here might’ve turned me away for an extended period… or perhaps (when The New-52! flushed everything a year later) I might’ve said “screw it” and been done for good!

I was a bit iffy back in ye old 2010 when I picked this up off the rack.  The classic team is right in my wheelhouse as a fan… however, there was that one name in the credits that gave me a bit of agita.  Judd Winick is responsible for quite a few comics that I have… disliked.  He has many of the worst habits of contemporary writers… soapbox lectures, snark, writing like he’s too cool for comics.  There’s also the fact that he’s from The Real World.  Fair or not, I think I always held that against him.  As though his being from “the mainstream” afforded him certain opportunities that didn’t quite jive with his level of talent.

In reading Generation Lost, however, I was pretty blown away.  I was already bracing for social issues to be at the forefront… and for awful reaching snark.  Everytime we were introduced to a new character here, I swear I clenched… because I was absolutely positive that the description following their name would be “cute” and “meta”.  Ya know, like “Aquaman: Talks to Fish” or “Batman: A Night Person”… stupid crap like that.  Thankfully (and surprisingly) there was none of that!

Instead what we get is an interesting and tragic story of targeting and discredited superheroes.  This iteration of the League has always been something of a joke to the community at-large, however, by this point it’s clear that the joke’s wearing a bit thin.  Superman and Wonder Woman appear tired of humoring these lovable losers… which is almost painful to observe.

There comes that time when everyone has “enough”.  If you’re a parent, the first time your kid brings you a (literal) mud pie… it’s cute.  Maybe the second and third time too.  But the hundredth?  The thousandth?  What was once charming is now just a mess.  We get the distinct impression that Superman and Wonder Woman are currently at that point.  They see Booster and the Gang with a handful of mud… and are just annoyed that, ultimately, they’re going to have to clean it up.

Overall… a surprisingly great issue (and series).  My only complaint is that everybody is drawn with Batman’s jawline.  Well, that and the fact that this isn’t leading anywhere.  This is one of the skatey-eight hundred things DC flushed down the commode to make way for (the totally planned and well-thought-out) The New-52!  Worth a read to be sure… expect a great story… with less-than-great followup.

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