Maxwell Lord IV

Created by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire

Maxwell Lord, Lord Havok II

Sylvia Duani (ex-wife), Claire Montgomery (ex-wife)

Justice League International, Checkmate

Justice League #1 (May 1987)


Little is known about the early life of Maxwell Lord IV other than his ever-present preoccupation with the rise to power, fortune and fame. He has been twice married, first to a college sweetheart, Sylvia Duani. (JLQ #8) This was short-lived and Max married Claire Montgomery sometime after that. (JLQ #1) Early in his career, he was seen present at an early appearance of the Justice League of America. Max had been trying to shmooze with Bruce Wayne at the Gotham City Exectutive's Club. (JLA: Year One #7)

Years later, while out on a spelunking expedition with his boss, Maxwell Lord was abducted by an alien supercomputer buried near the center of the Earth. This computer somehow managed to convince Max to establish a benevolent worldwide peace organization that the computer hoped to use as part of its own grandiose plot aimed at complete global domination. With the computer's help, Max was able to operate behind the scenes during the formation of the latest incarnation of the Justice League, seizing control of the League after he negotiated the agreement that led to its formal recognition by the United Nations. (Justice League Int’l #7)

The computer's owner, who turned out to be Metron of the New Gods, eventually returned to Earth to reclaim his equipment, prompting the computer to begin manipulating the Justice League into an epic conflict with Metron, in the hope that the heroes could destroy its former master, allowing the computer to remain on Earth to carry out its master plan. Of course, things didn't quite work out the way the computer had intended, and in the end, Lord personally destroyed the computer and begged the forgiveness of his heroic compatriots. (#12)

Max continueds to operate as the Justice League's benefactor and caretaker. Max's telepathic powers were heightened during the invasion of the Earth that was masterminded by the Dominators. (Invasion! #3, Justice League International #24) Max briefly considered using his powers as a costumed hero, but a nightmare in which he killed several people while dressed as a hero called "Maximum Force" convinced him that his role as the JLI's chief executive was best for him. (#41) This didn't stop him from using the powers to "push" the occasional person, as he did when he coerced the Huntress to join the JLI. (#30)

Max underwent a violent series of events engeineered by the Queen Bee of Bialya. First, he was shot and critically injured (#52), then replaced as U.N. liaison to the League by her puppet, Rolf Heimlich (#53) While he was in the hospital, his body was taken over by the twisted Dreamslayer. The villain then reassembled his android cohorts, the Extremists. (Jusitce League Europe #32) Dreamslayer ultimately killed a Leaguer, the Silver Sorceress.

Afterwards, Max returned to full health and was ready to rebuild the League, but his role was more limited when Superman took control of the American team. (J.L. Spectacular #1) The two clashed at every turn, but Max did broker a new deal with the U.N. to provide a new headquarters for the team. After Superman's death, he continued to work with the next JLA leader, Wonder Woman. But eventually both JLI branches were decimated by the Overmaster and splintered into three groups. (J.L.A. #0)

When Wonder Woman reformed the League outside the U.N., Max tried one last time to wiggle his way into their graces. But the League had had enough of him and he soon discovered that he had brain cancer. (#93) Also at this time, details about his private life surfaced which cast serious doubts on Lord's sincerity. It seems Max was a member of a secret cartel called the Arcana. (#93-94) It is possible that his ties to this organization are nearly as old as his involvement with the JLA. He was known to have staged the Royal Flush Gang's attack with the purpose of admitting Booster Gold to the JLA. (Justice League #4). Perhaps this was a trial, as he is known to have officially joined the Arcana soon after this. (JLA Annual #9) When he learned about his cancer, he was a junior member of the Arcana.

To cheat death, Max stole the power of the Kilg%re (a techno-organic being who'd brought him back to life) and called himself Lord Havok (II). (#98-99) Subsequently, a funeral was held for him. (#95) The Arcana's Queen of Spades was sent to try to stop him, (JLA #108) but Max was too powerful and he assumed leadership of the Arcana. (JLA #111) In the end, Max's agent, Judgment, killed the Aracana's ruling "four Aces." Max disappeared, but the JLA did trace some of their communications to Lord Enterprises. (JLA #113)

But all that was a ruse...

Throughout his time with the Justice League, Maxwell Lord had only been pretending at the role of "incorrigable businessman." In truth, he held a deep contempt for the metahuman community and sought to take them down by keeping them close. His drive to champion "humankind" drove him so far that he actually managed to free himself from the Kilg%re. He had been allied with this entity from the very beginning, the tlinked by Max's psi powers. After becoming a cyborg, Max underwent years of operations to return to human, using the resources of the world's major science centers: Checkmate, Cadmus, Project M and Porgene. (Booster Gold v.2 #9)

At some point, Max became one of Checkmate's highest officials, its Black King. The Black King is the most powerful of all, but Lord took his power to a criminal level.

From his connections to the Justice League, he managed a coup. First, he commandeered a satellite built by Batman: the Brother MK-1 ("Brother Eye") and from it obtained complete dossiers on the entire super-hero community. Second, he stole Booster Gold's futuristic android pal, Skeets, and used the robot's circuitry to spy on heroes via the Blue Beetle's goggles. But Max went too far when he began sabotaging the Beetle's private ventures as Ted Kord. The Beetle began an investigation that revealed the spyware in his goggles, and he tracked Max to a Checkmate mountain hideaway in the Swiss Alps.

Ted discovered the extent of Max's treachery, but Max murdered him outright. (DC Countdown #1) After this, Max moved quickly to secure complete control of Checkmate's inner circle. He ordered the White Knight to kill the Black King, White King and White Queen.

The Blue Beetle eventually discovered Max's plans and tracked Lord to Checkmate's European mountain headquarters. When the Beetle refused to join him, Max murdered him. He ordered his Knight, Sasha Bordeax, to clean up after this, but she alerted her old flame, the Batman. Like everyone else in Checkmate, Sasha found Max's methods distatsteful, but she continued to put up a faithful front. (DC Countdown) Max was finally called by his peers who sought to challenge his recent activities. Rather than risk his own death, Max mentally coerced the other Black Knight, Jessica Midnight, to kill the other three "monarchs." He next sent Sasha to Chicago to cleanse the Beetle's home and businesses. Max discovered her duplicity and sent several OMACs to intercept her and Batman. Sasha was capured before she could reveal Max's involvement to Batman, but she did tell him that Checkmate was behind Beetle's death. Batman was saved from death by Superman, and the OMACs disappeared. (OMAC Project #1-3)

Max then began his most ambitious — and final — gambit: he took control of Superman himself. The possession was so complete that Max was able to convince Superman that Lois Lane had been kidnapped by Doomsday/Darkseid/Brainiac. The Man of Steel thought he was attacking a villain when in fact, he had attacked his own friend: Batman! Wonder Woman arrived in time to prevent Batman's death. (Superman #219, Action Comics #829)

Superman was taken into custody by the JLA, who unearthed an image of Max Lord from his mind. Max's powers had grown so that even the Martian Manhunter could not undo the damage to Superman's will. Superman agreed to remain in custody, but once Wonder Woman departed, Max again exerted control and summons him to Switzerland. Diana followed and an epic battle ensued. She finally broke Max's control by cutting Superman's throat with her tiara. She ordered Max to release him, but Max explained that as soon as the lasso comes off, Superman will be his puppet again. Wonder Woman could see no other solution, and chose to kill the monster in her grasp. (Adventures of Superman #642, Wonder Woman #219)

Max's death was immediately sensed by Brother Eye which initiated "survival mode," setting off a series of false alarms over the world. It then created an OMAC agent within the Checkmate compound that began killing all remaining agents. Agents Bordeaux and Knight broke free, but during the melee, Sasha found that Max had grafted her with an experimental form of the OMAC nanotech, which was derived from Brainiac-13 technology acquired by the U.S. Department of Defense and Lexcorp. Sasha went on to exert control over Checkmate and attempt to stem the damage Max had set in motion. (OMAC #4-6)

+ Powers

Maxwell Lord possessed great mental powers that allowed him to take control of a person's mind. Apparently Max practiced this ability more than anyone was aware, because he was able to ultimately take complete control of Superman.

As Lord Havok, he could assume any form.

Appearances + References


 DC Countdown #1
 JLA Classified #4-9


 Justice League America 113 issues (1987-96)

 Formerly Known as the Justice League, 6-issue limited series (2004)

 The OMAC Project, 6-issue limited series (2005)