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Who Is WONDER WOMAN 1984’s Maxwell Lord?

Ahead of Wednesday’s release of WONDER WOMAN 1984, get to know one of the movies villains: BMaxwell Lord!

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Pedro Pascal in WONDER WOMAN 1984

Wednesday marks the release of Warner Bros. Wonder Woman 1984 here in the UK. Ahead of the film’s release we’re taking a look at two key new characters joining the DC Universe on film.

Today it’s the turn of one of Diana’s trickiest foils: Maxwell Lord. Get to know her origins and find some of the characters biggest moments from the comics to help you swat up ready for Pedro Pascal’s performance in the film.


Maxwell Lord

Alias: Black King, Lord Havok.

First appearance: Justice League #1 (May 1987).

Bio: Maxwell Lord IV is the son of Maxwell Lord III, a successful businessman and head of the Chimtech Consortium. Maxwell III set out to be a good example for his son by striving to always do what was right. When Maxwell IV was 16, he came home to find his father dead in an apparent suicide. His father had discovered that his company had produced a highly carcinogenic product, and could not bear to live with the guilt and shame caused by the realization.

Lord’s mother was convinced by her husband to employ a similar practice, cajoling heroic metahumans to help Lord. Thus, he sparked the plans to bring the Justice League, leaderless and broken after the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, under his exclusive control.

In the wake of the Crisis event the world was in disarray. The agents of Darkseid sowed mistrust amongst the heroes on Earth, and the helpless needed guidance more than ever. Using alien tech, Lord took it upon himself to establish a new Justice League of meta humans and capable vigilantes: one which would not just represent America, but function internationally.

After discovering that he too possessed the metagene, Lord faked his death to follow through on the next part of his plans. Using the information he had gleaned as the League’s leader to systematically wipe out Earth’s heroes. It was only Blue Beetle who saw through Lord. In kind Lord rewarded Beetle with a bullet to the brain.

In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC’s continuity. In this new timeline, Max Lord still runs Checkmate as the Black King, but now has leadership seniority over Cadmus and its programs. He successfully captures Batman’s superpower monitoring satellite, Brother Eye, for his own purposes, but it ends up creating an agent with which it would act through seeking vengeance. Lord ends up getting into heated battle with an all new OMAC who was formerly one of the project’s employees.

Although the combined forces of the League and the Squad are able to defeat Lord’s allies, they are unable to prevent Lord from achieving his goal; with the aid of a controlled Killer Frost, Lord acquires the Heart of Darkness from a vault, using it to enhance his powers to “infect” (take control of) the League. Lord uses the infected Justice League (apart from Batman, who Lord did not infect) to achieve “peace” across America, and has Waller kidnapped and taken before him. However, despite believing that he had taken precautions to control the Heart, Lord is forced by Waller to recognize that it is manipulating his perceptions, using Lord’s powers to spread chaos and evil across the world, and twisting Lord’s perception of what is transpiring. When Waller is able to bring him to his senses, Lord tries to remove the Heart of Darkness, but it consumes him and transforms him into Eclipso. Eclipso is driven out of Lord when Killer Frost is able to use her powers to create a prism of ice, channeling Superman’s heat vision at just the right frequency to disrupt Lord’s hold on his slaves, with Lord subsequently being immobilized by Killer Frost. Lord awakens in a cell specially designed to hold him, with injectors pumping so much blood thinner into him that he would bleed to death if he attempted to access his powers. He mockingly asks Waller if she set this whole thing up just to ‘justify’ the Squad to the League, but Waller declines to reply, and simply informs him that he is to prepare himself for service on “Task Force XI”.

Lord later works under the supervision of Wonder Woman in order to stop his dangerous technology from threatening innocent people.

Key reading:

  • Invasion! (1988)
  • Infinite Crisis (2005)
  • Blackest night (2009)
  • Wonder Woman (2016-) Rebirth

Key watching:

  • Justice League: Unlimited “Ultimatum”
  • Smallville “Charade”
  • Supergirl (season one)

Gal Gadot returns in the role of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman 1984. The film also stars Kristen Wiig in the role of the Super-Villain The Cheetah, as well as Pedro Pascal. And Chris Pine returns as Steve Trevor. The film is directed by Patty Jenkins.


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