Superman: Leviathan Rising Special #1 review

Ms Leone, the secret Kingpin of the Metropolis Mob, is out shopping. Passing on Jimmy Olsen’s latest book of photography, and Wonder Woman’s self-help volume, she considers a tome on the Justice League. A mystery man appears and offer to buy it for her. What he really wants, though, is knowledge.

Later, Clark Kent tells Lois Lane that there are men in their apartment waiting to kidnap him. Rather than apprehend them as Superman, he decides to go ahead and be taken, see what he can learn.

What he hasn’t banked on, is crooks who don’t know he’s Superman putting a green kryptonite vest on him.

Realising that Clark has run into problems, Lois calls for help.

Soon, Wonder Woman arrives to back up Batman, and they decide to call in the entire Justice League to find Superman. Lois, though, thinks they’ve missed the point – it’s Clark they should be trailing, not his alter ego.

Across the world, in Gorilla City, Jimmy has woken to find himself married to a woman with a career as crazy as his.

Then there’s the cat she’s found…

In National City, Supergirl, just back on Earth after the Rogol Zaar business, finds her adopted parents’ home razed and them missing. Flashbacks show that all was not well with Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers.

In the present, Kara is being followed.

And Clark is rescued by a rather motley crew.

Overall, I liked this jam book released to build excitement for Action Comics writer Brian Michael Bendis’ Event Leviathan, er, event a lot. The Metropolis sequences with Ms Leone and, presumably, Leviathan, are written with a delightfully light touch by Bendis, but aren’t so breezy that the drama is missing. The Leviathan business has me more intrigued by the month, and I’m especially pleased that the crime boss brings in enforcer Red Cloud aka Robinson Goode (a reporter so rubbish that she refers to the Invisible Mafia as the Secret Empire – wrong comics company, dear). That gal needs a comeuppance and she won’t get it if she’s hanging around in the background of the Daily Planet. It’s splendid to see that even mob bosses fear Lois Lane, while the new running gag about Clark’s bad acting pays big dividends here. We also see another instance of Supeman trying to persuade an enemy to be better, and I love the presence of Firestorm – if you suspect green K is in the mix, of course you bring along a matter transmuter. The art by Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbairn is gorgeous, I love their version of Metropolis and its people. Ms Leone has real charisma, while Leviathan’s identikit-style face-changing tech provides a few nice sight gags – if that’s Ed Asner, he has to be in crusading Lou Grant mode. And is that Agent Phil Coulson? Seems appropriate.

The Lois section by Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins is a great showcase for Mrs Superman’s grit and smarts. She looks great, whether she’s ultra focused or mildly panicked. The one thing I don’t like – actually, I hate it – is that Rucka has her go all Margot Kidder (that balcony is familiar) and light up a few fags. Lois doesn’t smoke, she’s far too smart. She loves life too much. I hope one of those DC higher ups who apparently stomp on Tom King’s Batman take affront at Lo’s filthy fags – if you’re going to micro-manage, pick some decent targets. Is Lois not meant to be a role model for kids? The actual page in which Lois lights up is actually gorgeous, mind, thanks to Perkins’ realistic style and the colours of, I’m guessing, FCO Plascencia.

Matt Fraction gives us not one, but two Silver Age-style opening narrations in the course of his Jimmy Olsen showcase. We also get a seriously wacky tale showcasing the whimsy of the character without Fraction layering on the idiocy too many writers think defines Jim. A team-up with a character from the Green Lantern mythos is surprising, and fun, Jimmy’s seriously sexy new wife must return and there’s a massive shock – Jimmy doesn’t knot his own bow ties! Steve Lieber’s loose illustrations suit the silliness of the story, I like his take on Jimmy – it’s very traditional, while a little more dynamic than the likes of Silver Age artists such as the great John Forte and Pete Costanza. Fine colouring too by, I’m guessing, Paul Mounts. Oh, and the book design for Jimmy’s My Life in the Infinite Metropolis is clever, making the ‘O’ of ‘Olsen’ an infinity symbol. Mind, I could have lived without seeing Jimmy’s ginger armpit hair…

The worst story in the book goes to Supergirl. Writer Marc Andreyko seems not to have read a whole issue of Steve Orlando’s run as scripter, else he’d not have Eliza Danvers spouting insanely melodramatic dialogue or sprouting a new hand. I’m glad Kara is involved in the Leviathan event, but this isn’t a great entry point, despite more than decent art from Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira. I certainly don’t want Andreyko’s creation Kate Spencer, the current Manhunter, hogging page space, much as I enjoyed her own series back in the day.

This isn’t a cheap comic, but it’s 80 pages and in a fifth week counts as a definite treat. As a launchpad for Lois and Jimmy titles, and the next stage of the Supergirl series, it’s pretty darn good.

Just throw away the cancer sticks, Lois.

16 thoughts on “Superman: Leviathan Rising Special #1 review

  1. So Jimmy go married in Gorilla City to an Interdimensional thief and adopted a Red Lantern Cat then saved Clark Kent alongside Lois Lane and Firestorm The Nuclear Man, must be Tuesday for our photographer.

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  2. I love that they seem to just be trusting us to make up our own stories for why Jimmy’s in a gorilla suit and Lois is dressed like Talia. They might be planning to explain these things in the first issues of their respective titles, but I’d rather just leave it hanging out there.

    I have SO much love for this team on Jimmy. We could very well be looking at my new favorite comic book.

    As for Supergirl, it just didn’t seem that compelling to me. I don’t really know Eliza and Jerimiah from the comics (just the TV show, where they’re very different), so their being out of character didn’t bug me (though Eliza’s last scene was definitely melodramatic and clunky). But what bugged me most was that we saw bodies being cleared from the rubble at the DEO, which wasn’t just an art mistake — E & J are talking about it. But in other books, there’s been a point made that there were no bodies left after these attacks. I suspect this is an editorial blunder, and no explanation will be forthcoming. But it was one more reason not to like that segment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m sure it’s a blunder. It can’t be a clue because the flashback isn’t narrated by a character, it’s just dropped in by an omniscient editor/Dr Manhattan. I perhaps wasn’t clear enough in the review that this is so NOT Eliza as previously presented because in Supergirl she’s missing a hand – apparently based on a friend of Steve Orlando who chooses not to wear a prosthetic… it’s never been referenced in the Supergirl book dialogue or narration – a writer skimming a book he’s taken over could easily miss an unemphasised art detail.

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  3. As I read your review, the thing that leapt out at me was Lois Lane smoking – really? In this day and age?! Come on, DC, you can do much better than that.

    As I don’t pick up the Superman titles, I’ll be watching the Event Leviathan on this blog. As an aside, why is the title being styled like that? Why not the Leviathan Event? Anyone know?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I liked that the secret identity actually worked for Superman. Bendis has a tendency to muck up that part of being a superhero. All in all, not a bad issue. I’m a cigar man, myself, so the smoking didn’t bother me. Would it be better if she vaped? 😉

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  5. Oh, wow, she was missing a hand but it was never mentioned in the comic? That’s really nicely subtle work… and I’m not surprised it was missed at all, unfortunately. Did Supergirl change editors when Benis took over? Or was it before, in the de-Berganzification? (Or both?)

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      1. I really like that it was never referenced in the script that we saw, no dialogue about it. It was so subtle that when Brian Ching was drawing it, I thought that was just his style – he did tend to draw lollipop people.

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