DC has reinvented Maxwell Lord, with two new comics out today that give background information on the character and shed light on his plan to defeat the Justice League and the Suicide Squad by pitting the two against each other.
In this week's Justice League #12, subtitled "Maxwell Lord: Rebirth," reveals Max's origin, in which he parted ways with Checkmate after they supported the Justice League when they debuted five years ago.
Lord felt that it was the fault of the metahuman community that Darkseid and his armies were interested in Earth at all, and blamed superhumans for the deaths of his parents.
He also knew -- and this is a smaller reveal in the pages of Justice League but it's the moment everything leads to in Justice League vs. Suicide Squad -- that there was a previous Suicide Squad assembled by Waller. It's that group -- the villains Lord assembled in the miniseries' first issue two weeks ago -- that both the current Squad and the Justice League will have to face next.
Lord was seen briefly in O.M.A.C., but had not been featured regularly in DC's comics since before Flashpoint.
The character was introduced during Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis's Justice League years, where he was the "money man" behind the Justice League International, responsible for getting them diplomatic status with the United Nations. He turned evil in Countdown to Infinite Crisis, when it was revealed that he had secretly been working with the spy organization Checkmate for years in the hopes of cutting the world's metahuman population off at the knees. Later, he and Suicide Squad founder Amanda Waller would war for control of Checkmate -- which is really what seems to be driving the Justice League vs. Suicide Squad narrative again.
His team of allies includes Lobo, Johnny Sorrow, Emerald Empress, Rustom, Doctor Polaris, and Killer Frost. They were, apparently, Waller's first Suicide Squad, and while the miniseries centers on Lord using his mental powers to get the team freed from prison and reassembled, the Justice League issue deals with his earliest attempts to do so, in which he tried to take on Waller directly and failed to secure "the item" (the location of the team).
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Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #3 is out today. You can get the the first half of the event at your local comic shop or on ComiXology. The series will run weekly between now and January 25, with tie-ins in Justice League and Suicide Squad, before it ends, launching into a new Justice League of America title, in February.