Bonus Book #13 – Maxwell Lord (February, 1989)
Well, I guess we can hand it to ’em for giving readers all those extra pages for no charge, right? I know I wouldn’t complain… kinda reminds me of folks who were losing their mind at DC’s most recent price-hike (to $3.99 across the board). So much passive-aggression online, mocking DC for their inability to “Draw the Line at $2.99”, completely ignoring the fact that DC did give us a few years of three-buck books… while Marvel’s been edging up closer and closer to the $4.99 across-the-board mark for years now! Now, I’m certainly not “carrying DC’s water” or nothin’… I think they’re almost 100% dunderheads running the place now, but, credit where it’s due… ya know?
Before hopping in… tomorrow’s piece will be much different in both tone and length than what I’ve been doing, for it is Super-Blog Team-Up and I’ve got something special planned! The day after that, however, we’ve got a “Bonus” Bonus Book to check out… and after that… well, I’m not sure quite what’s on the agenda just yet!
Max takes his leave, he has business elsewhere. Outside the Embassy, he hops into a limousine… and finds himself locked in! The driver, either a masked-man with a weird speech pattern or a robot (with a weird speech pattern) tells him to just relax and enjoy the ride.
Max, knowing he doesn’t have all that much choice, just halfheartedly sulks in the backseat until they reach their destination. He is delivered to… I dunno, Cuban revolutionaries? They’ve got a very Castro-flair to their outfits.
A woman greets her new hostage, and informs him that they’ve been hired to nab him in order to access all of the secrets of the Justice League… I guess that tabloid hasn’t come out just yet. Max is really dismissive of his captors, and immediately asks if they “got any caviar”. Yeesh… this isn’t all that great, is it?
The baddies call the Embassy, and inform Booster Gold that they’ve got their man held hostage. What’s more, they want half-a-bill before they’ll release him! Blue Beetle overhears the exchange and expresses sympathy… for the kidnappers. Ya get it? Max is a pain in the ass! Get it?
Back wherever, Max is seated in a room making small-talk with a guard. We learn that the kidnappers are mercenaries… which, duh. Max goes on to sweet talk the fella, even offers him an opportunity in his operation. Before this dude can answer, however, there’s a shift-change. And so, Max begins his spiel again.
The lady captor, and the brains of the operation, calls into her superior. We find out that without Max’s express authorization… that half-a-bill cannot be released. Whoops.
She charges into Max’s room to tell him they need his authorization… only to find her two guards arguing over which one of ’em is the best. Looks like Lord talked these geeks into circles.
The League gets another call… the kidnappers have cut their demands in half… they only want a quarter-bill for Max’s safe return. Booster tries to keep them on the line long enough for Beetle to trace the call, but it’s no avail.
The lady captor calls back in to their boss to let him know they’ve lowered their asking-price… hopeful that a mere two-hunnid-fitty-million might not need Max’s authorization. The boss is pretty ticked off, claiming they’ve just killed their profit margin. The woman and her goons… are fired.
She charges back into Max’s room… only to find herself staring down the barrels of her goons’ guns. Ya see, Max has hired them… doubled their salaries, even! The lady captor asks if there’s room for her in his organization.
And… oh my stars, what in the hell is this? This might be the ugliest panel I’ve ever seen in a comic book. I mean, great googly-moogly, how did this even happen?! I… I’m not sure I can move passed this. Yeah, DC’s Editorial was completely checked out at this point in the Bonus Book Program! Eeesh… my skin’s crawlin’.
Okay, okay… let’s press on. The League gets another call to pick up Max… this time, however, Booster and Beetle decide to pull a fast one and make some demands of their own. They’ll take Max back… for fifteen-thousand dollars!
We wrap up with Max returning to the Embassy… to find Booster and Beetle watching their $15,000 television. Wonk, wonk, wonnnnnnk.
Our writer, David Levin, has rather a strange comic book origin story. While he found much of his success elsewhere (he’s a director and producer… did some work for MTV’s Rockumentaries as well as a lauded film on the 9/11 attacks). In comics, however, Levin is notable for having written what is arguably the rarest DC comic book of all-time.
Superman: This Island Bradman, was privately-commissioned (for a reported £10,000) by an English property tycoon named Godfrey Bradman in order to celebrate his son, Daniel’s Bar Mitzvah. This bugger was so official, it was drawn by Curt Swan… and even got an indicia! This was a real comic book! My inner-completionist weeps!
Per Paul Levitz’s 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking (TASCHEN, 2010) only 200 copies of this b(r)adboy were put to print! Sooo… if you’re ever trawling the cheap-o bins, and happen to come across this one… snag it! That would definitely be a fun one to take a look at!
|From 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking (TASCHEN)
Across the table, sits our artist. We met Dean Haspiel the other day, and while I appreciated his art in the Detective Comics Bonus Book… I did not like this in the slightest. Even if we take that panel out of the equation, this just didn’t look all that great. Perhaps, and this is 100% me projecting, this was just the fulfillment of a contract? I mean, it was the last one of these… maybe it was just a “get ‘er done” sort of scenario?
Overall… the Bonus Book program didn’t quite go “out with a bang”… but, then again, how many cancelled comic book things actually do?
(Not the) Letters Page: