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Grey Gargoyle

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 39,855
Subj: Re: Wonder Woman 1984: complaining about one of the villains...
Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 at 08:04:09 am EST (Viewed 242 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Wonder Woman 1984: complaining about one of the villains...
Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 at 12:52:50 pm EST (Viewed 234 times)

    I don't disagree with your points, the execution of Maxwell Lord at Wonder Woman's hands stands as a particular low-point of Dan Didio's management of the publishing line and sadly has never been an event that has been really discussed or dealt with - Wonder Woman executed a foe, and the consequences for her were minimal, indeed it didn't even trouble her, unlike Superman executing the Phantom Zone villains. Indeed even Barry Allen paid a heavy personal and professional price for his executing The Reverse-Flash. But for Wonder Woman... nothing. It stood as one of the most troubling moments in modern comics for me.

I agree. This is especially true because we are talking about Wonder Woman, a character deliberately written on the theme of "violence vs love" by William Moulton Marston with the help of Elizabeth Holloway Marston and Olive Byrne.


    Although very much a product of the late 1980s Maxwell Lord is a character DC doesn't seem willing to let go of, a sort of modern update of the Funky Flashman/Morgan Edge opportunistic figure Maxwell Lord began life as a shady buisinessman and ran the turbulence of evolving from that to penitent sinner to underhand murderous psychopath. There was never much logic to it, just plot contrivance and another example of the dark meanness of Dan Didio's regime. So despite his uses becoming ever more limited and one-dimensional in their nature the name alone seems to be what creators keep coming back to - "Maxwell Lord" does have a pleasant ring to it after all.

In my opinion, DC executives were wrong to agree with that because, from the very beginning, the 1980s character was precisely, clearly well-defined and, during the Justice League years, we, the readers, had access to his inner thoughts. His storyline was about an untrustworthy egocentric yuppie becoming a slightly better person because he is in direct contact with superheroes. The character was fun because he had a smart-ass attitude and a great sense of humor. At the same time, he was morally ambivalent and, because of that, he was often as much a threat as he was an asset. Due to the unpredictable nature of his actions, the character was created to remain in a grey zone, neither hero nor even antihero, neither villain nor antivillain.


    And it's the name and general outline of the character that still attracts creators like Patty Jenkins to pick him up and make use of him.

IMO, she had no previous knowledge of the character and it is clearly Geoff Johns' idea. It is why I am so worried because it was him who disassembled the character and then reshaped him into something completely different.

Contrary to Maxwell Lord, Dr. Psycho has been created from the start to be the opposite number of Wonder Woman and, in all his incarnations, he has remained a main foe since the Golden Age. In Wonder Woman rogues gallery, except gods and goddesses, Dr. Psycho is the most important antagonist with psionic powers. To quote https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Psycho :

    The character of Doctor Psycho was created by William Moulton Marston, creator of Wonder Woman and author of her original adventures, as an allegory of the folly of abnormal emotions such as misogyny and other hatred, as well as to be another embodiment of what he called "less actively developed men" (emotionally misaligned) who needed emotional reform by a love leader (Wonder Woman). William Moulton Marston's creation of Doctor Psycho drew upon his interest in metaphysics and spiritualism. Marston, a psychologist, created Doctor Psycho as a murderous psychopath with an intense hatred of women. The character was partly inspired by actor Lon Chaney ("Man of a thousand faces") and partly by Marston's undergraduate advisor Hugo Münsterberg, who was opposed to women's suffrage and feminism, and was into metaphysics. Doctor Psycho was also one of several villains created for Wonder Woman who were occultists, beguiling the masses for their own self-enriching purposes.

Thus, it would have been relevant to make Dr. Psycho instead of Maxwell Lord appear in 'Wonder Woman 1984'.

In my opinion, it would have been fun if the Wonder Woman trilogy had been centered around the "Big 3 archfoes" and the "3 Doctors":
- Main antagonist: Ares / 2ndary antagonist: Dr. Poison
- Main antagonist: Cheetah / 2ndary antagonist: Dr. Psycho
- Main antagonist: Circe / 2dnary antagonist: Dr. Cyber
(NB: there are two other doctors in the rogues gallery: Doctor Moon and Doctor Domino, but they don't have a significant role, compared to the other 3)

It is obvious that I can forget my expectation.

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