With its twice-monthly schedule, "Justice League: Generation Lost" has on occasion had the extra time available to pause the main action and give us a little side story. Usually it's an origin story for one of our characters, and here we get the final edition of that side step. And at last, it's villain Maxwell Lord.
Told through Lord's eyes, Judd Winick tries to reconcile the different things done with the character over the years, from his hiring terrorists to attack the United Nations, to running the Justice League, to attempting to conquer the world. It's a valiant effort, because with each new take on the character he's shifted over the line between hero and villain.
The important thing here, though, is that Winick makes it clear that Maxwell Lord genuinely feels like he's doing the right thing for the world. He's not trying to take over for the sake of power, but rather to make things better. And to do that, he needs to be in control of the situation. It's a more interesting motivation, with his firm belief that his control will save the planet. It doesn't give you sympathy for the character (after all, the issue kicks off with him having just shot Blue Beetle in the head) but it at least makes his actions slightly more understandable.
But with that cliffhanger from the previous issue, Winick also keeps the present-day story moving. It's just enough momentum to carry us into the final four issues, and it helps clarify one character's situation in particular. I'll admit that I'm wondering if the end of this issue is truly set in stone, but for the moment it's a powerful end scene.
Joe Bennett's pencils are solid, from making Maxwell Lord looking particularly dangerous as he stands over Jaime's prone body, to Captain Atom's charge forward. The flashback scenes are handled well too, doubly so considering there's no superhero action going on there. There's a certain silhouette quality to a lot of the figures here, and with the jumps into the past it's a good artistic choice.
I'm going to miss "Justice League: Generation Lost" when it ends in April; Winick's show a good knowledge of these characters and how to write them, and it makes me hope that later this year we'll get another book by Winick about this particular group. For now, though, the end-run has been set up in this issue, and it's time to charge forward to the conclusion. All hands inside the car, please.