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“Constructions!”

  • Writers:  Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
  • Pencils:  Kevin Maguire
  • Inks:  Al Gordon
  • Colors:  Gene D’Angelo
  • Letters:  John Workman

Max Lord summons Martian Manhunter and Captain Atom to his office.  He was somehow under the impression that Superman, Hawkman, and Green Lantern Hal Jordan had joined the ranks of the Justice League.  J’onn explains to Max that those heroes had only lent a hand during the Manhunter crisis and have since moved on.  This angers Max, who says he needs “prime heroes – not a bunch of weak-kneed second-stringers.”

Max regains his composure and says he needs help from the most powerful heroes. He says a super-villain is after him.  Somewhere else, someone is secretly watching the meeting in Max’s office on a wall of monitors.  Ominous.

In the New York Embassy, Black Canary is showing the new Rocket Red (#4) around.  He is replacing the last Rocket Red JLI member (#7), who turned out to be a Manhunter.  He cracks wise with Canary, and reveals to her that he lost a tooth when she kicked him in the face (in Justice League #3).  Oberon notifies them of an alert from Captain Atom and Martian Manhunter, so Black Canary and Rocket Red (who asks to be called “Dmitri”) head there.

The Justice League heads for Max’s building in their shuttle.  Blue Beetle warns Mr. Miracle against any further roof-landings while Rocket Red and Green Lantern Guy Gardner get to know each other.  Booster Gold complains of an upset stomach from the League teleporters, and proceeds to vomit in the shuttle.  What a team.

As they approach the building, the JLI shuttle is fired upon by heat-seeking missiles.  Mr. Miracle and Blue Beetle evade the missiles by crashing the shuttle into Max’s building (What, was Guy too busy chatting with Dmitri to do a little creative ring work?).  The team manages to survive the crash without taking out any civilians.  While working out their next step, they are surprised to see Captain Atom fighting some sort of artificial intelligence.

Batman takes charge (mere seconds after he pointed out that Black Canary was in command on this mission), ordering Guy Gardner to neutralize the robot tentacles with his ring.  When the tentacles go for Batman, Black Canary knocks them back with her sonic scream.  Batman is chagrined by her rescue.  As Rocket Red blasts the robot tentacles, Mr. Miracle discovers they are being controlled from within the building.  Black Canary orders Guy to use his ring to create a power surge in the building’s electrics.  As a result, the tentacles – and the entire building – lose power.

Meeting up with Captain Atom and Martian Manhunter, the JLI learns that the building attacked them without provocation.  Max Lord explains that the building’s computer system was taken over by an outside force that is out to get him.  The team thinks Max is being paranoid, but don’t deny that something is going on with the Lord Building.  Batman suspects the enemy may be the Construct, a “nearly invincible computer mind capable of controlling every electronic device on the planet” that the old Justice League defeated once before.

Searching a nearby mountainside for the source of the power emanations controlling the Lord Building, the JLI is attacked by a giant robot – the Construct.  The Construct swings at the shuttle, spouting standard-revenge-against-the-Justice-League crap.  The shuttle dodges the giant robot, and Captain Atom deploys with Guy Gardner, Booster Gold, and Martian Manhunter.

Captain Atom – boob that he is in this series – tries a battle cry or two.  He keeps getting shut down by Martian Manhunter.  It is funny and goofy but actually makes a lot of sense.  At this point in Nate’s personal continuity, he has only just become a legit superhero and not just a government agent posing as a superhero.  He’s trying to fit in, right?

Somewhere else, the battle is being watched on a bank of monitors (which reveal even what is happening inside the shuttle) and commented upon by someone off-panel.  The order is issued for the Construct to return to base.  Someone else (also off-panel) discovers the bank of monitors and exclaims, “What is going on here?”

Realizing the Construct went down to easily, the JLI follows it.  Meanwhile, the monitors are revealed to be in a huge underground complex.  Someone sitting on a floating chair with his back to the reader appears to be having a conversation with the giant computer.  The computer says it is being used, forced to aid someone in their plans of world domination (which includes making android duplicates of world leaders).  The computer called floaty-chair in to help it because it has been turned into a slave.

The Construct crashes in through the well, saying, “Master, help me.”  Floaty-chair seems surprised, as does the Justice League (the Construct was always a sentient entity and had no “master”).  They follow it into the mountainside secret base only to be confronted by the New God Metron (floaty chair guy).

To be continued next issue…

No backup story in this issue.  Cap was given some good goofy lines.  The whole thing is just set-up for the next issue.  It isn’t as fun as JLI usually was, but by no means a stinker.  It was a popular book at the time and it prominently featured Captain Atom, so I loved it.  Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire were certainly churning out some great, fun books in the 80s.  A sold “A.”

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“Who is Maxwell Lord?”

  • Writers:  Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
  • Pencils:  Kevin Maguire
  • Inks:  Al Gordon
  • Colors:  Gene D’Angelo
  • Letters:  Bob Lappan
The issue opens with Metron explaining to the Justice League that his knowledge is his power.  Time and Space are his kingdoms to rule.  And he is very angry.  He says the Justice League has violated the sanctity of his “Earthly chambers” and damaged his “information retrieval unit.”  Blue Beetle is indignant, but Mr. Miracle cuts him off and tells Beetle to let him do the talking.  Captain Atom thinks Metron is powering up to attack and blasts him.  Mr. Miracle tackles Cap, saying he doesn’t know what he’s dealing with, that Mr. Miracle himself is the only one who knows what they’re dealing with.
Metron, completely nonplussed by Cap’s attack, asks Mr. Miracle who these fools he’s surrounded himself with are.  Captain Atom, insulted, wants to attack Metron again.  Metron wants to “explain” some “universal truths” to Cap.  The other Leaguers stand between Metron and Captain Atom to protect their comrade.  Metron begins to attack while Miracle desperately tries to cool the god off.  He reveals to all those present that he is the son of Highfather – one of Jack Kirby’s “New Gods,” and ruler of New Genesis.  Whatever computer entity is monitoring this did not know that Miracle was from New Genesis (technically he was from Apokolips and was raised by Darkseid).  Metron says he was summoned to this place (I guess it is like his Earth “outpost”) by the machinery itself crying out in pain and terror.  He says that prior to the JLI’s arrival, he felt the machine’s sentience.
There is a quick cut-scene involving the Global Guardians.  Green Flame and Icemaiden are collecting their paychecks.  They learn the Guardians have lost their United Nations funding and this is their final paycheck.  Tuatara and Dr. Mist are also present.  Later, Green Flame and Icemaiden show up at the nearest JLI embassy and apply for membership.  Back in the States, Metron has destroyed the machinery after learning the consciousness has fled.  He follows the Justice League shuttle in his Mobius Chair.  Mr. Miracle manages to make a pretty decent Star Trek joke as they fly after the fleeing intelligence.
Back at the Lord Building, Max is beating himself up for sending his team into a trap.  He’s wondering what’s he’s become (nothing compared to what he will become in a few years) when a dead body falls out of his closet.  It is Ms. Wootenhoffer, Max’s personal assistant and Manhunter agent that was killed in Justice League International #9.  Max’s computer reveals it killed her, and that Metron has destroyed it’s “home unit.”  It recommends that it uploads itself into NORAD’s mainframe.  The computer knows Metron is on his way and must work quickly if it is to succeed in taking over the world.  Max, finally growing a conscience, begins to rip the machine apart.  The computer reminds Max of the spelunking accident which took the life of his old CEO the day they stumbled into Metron’s lab.  It reminds him of how they took over the business world together and amassed a great wealth.  It reminds him of how they worked together to make a new Justice League, to “save the world from itself.”  It reminds him of how it manipulated the Royal Flush Gang into fighting the Justice League and how it used satellites to attack Rumaan Harjavti’s Bialya (in Justice League #4 and Justice League #7, respectively).  Max says he remembers, and that (even though the machine had been keeping him alive since Ms. Wootenhoffer shot him) he has had enough.  Max destroys the machine.
At the moment the machine “dies,” Metron senses it.  He bids Mr. Miracle farewell and flies away.  Back in his office, Max begins to bleed from his gunshot wounds.  He collapses.  The following day, Mr. Miracle and Oberon visit with Max’s doctor at the hospital he was admitted to.  He says Max was lucky the JLI found him when they did, otherwise Max may have died.  Oberon says he believes Max “has the right stuff,” and Mr. Miracle says Max isn’t being kicked out.  Martian Manhunter scanned Max’s mind and decided not to punish him (this is problematic for events that happen later on with Max Lord).  The issue ends with Max asleep in his hospital bed, clutching a Justice League pager.
This was a good issue, certainly “A” material.  Just a little light on Captain Atom.  He seemed to get shoved off to the side a lot, at least until the Justice League Europe series.  It was a good issue for Mr. Miracle fans, though.  I’m still a huge fan of Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire.
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