Justice League: Generation Lost #19
Once again Dustin Nguyen turns in an excellent cover. Always love the work he does on this title. This issue's very, "minimalist" would be the term I'd use. But sometimes the simplest approach truly is the best one. I love the use of color on this cover. The bold contrast of the black on red is perfectly complimented with just the appropriate shade and use of blue.
This week's flashback features Jaime talking to his friends about his powers and the fates of the two Beetles who donned the mantle before him. I applaud Winick for doing this because one of the most unique and enjoyable things about Jaime's Beetle run was that he shared his secret with his friends and family. That's something that's all too rare in traditional cape comics and something that made him unique and really endeared the character to me. His friend Paco offhandedly comments that maybe he should rethink this whole carrying on tradition thing seeing as how Blue Beetles never seem to make it to retiring age. Yeeeahurrrp, foreshadowing done...
Max is, well, at his Maxiest in this issue. I've loved the way that Winick's handled him in this series. Under his pen he's quickly become one of my favorite villains in any medium. He's been as dangerous as he's been arrogant. I must especially applaud the way that Winick handles his dialog. He manages to speak about his grandiose plans while avoiding, well, sounding like a maniacal comic book villain. His interactions with Jaime in the last few issues have been great. I especially like their conversations in this issue. The way he condescendingly admonishes Jaime for assuming that any of this so far had any thing to especially do with him is gold. He reveals that without the JLI hunting him down he never would've come to possess control over Checkmate and its facilities and resources. His "Thank You!" to Jaime is as sincere as it is sarcastic.
So should I bother saying Spoiler alert? because this cover gives the events of this comic away before you even open it up. So, yeah Max kills Jaime at the end of this issue. Now I'm not one for character death to shock the reader or to boost sales. In fact there are few things I abhor and loath more. That being said, I must say this whole event was handled very well and respectfully from start finish. Other writers take note, THIS IS HOW YOU KILL A CHARACTER!!! Jaime goes out, but the kid goes out swinging like Tyson in 87.
Don't call Jaime "hombre". Earlier in the issue Max does so and Jaime promises to put him through a wall for it. And before it's all said and done the kid proves himself to be a man of his word. Once Jaime manages to free himself from Max and Ivo's probes the gloves come off and things get ugly. Not only does he put him through that aforementioned wall, but he also manages kick his ass up and down his base before the JLI arrives. I have to give Dagnino credit here, his panel layouts for the fight between Max and Jaime are great. I have to praise the way he switches things up perfectly when Max turns the tables on Jaime. The look of relief on his face as he sees Booster and the others arrive becomes truly tragic and heart wrenching one full page spread later.
I'm annoyed that Power Girl was sent off to warn the rest of the heroes (especially after learning how Max's mind wipe works) just after she managed to break free of his influence. I'm sure the JLI could've more than used her help to rescue Jaime
It's no secret that I'm no fan of Dagnino's artwork. At best I find it mundane, as I did this issue. Honestly, with an event this big to the title it should've been left in the much more capable hands of Lopresti. I'm especially wishing this was the case after his smash up job on #18. Dagnino's facial expressions on his characters just doesn't seem to capture the mood as powerfully as Lopresti's could've.
I wish less of the issue had been dedicated to the JLI's infiltration of Max's base so that more panels could've been spent on he and Jaime's confrontation.
BUY THIS COMIC!!!! NOW!!!!!
Generation Lost has been pound for pound the best DC comic in circulation since it's inception almost a year ago. If you're not reading this title then you're doing yourself a great, great disservice. Judd Winick continues to impress issue after issue (almost to the point where I've forgiven him for resurrecting Jason Todd) and this issue just may easily be his best yet. I hate when writers say this but this issue is truly one that is going to change everything, not just for the JLI but the DCU at large.