Event Leviathan has been on the horizon for some time, but at last the Brian Bendis-masterminded mini-series is here.
The book opens with Batman climbing, Sixties TV series-style, the side of what remains of Argus’ new Odyssey building in Coast City. Inside he’s confronted by one very untrusting Lois Lane.
They lay out what they know about the attacks on the world’s super-security, spy and sinister organisations – the likes of Task Force X, Spyral, Kobra, the DEO and Argus itself. Steve Trevor, Wonder Woman’s other half when he’s not flitting between his roles as Air Force adventurer and superspy, is revealed to be around too. And while he’s as paranoid as Lois, he’s willing to share what happened at the building less than an hour earlier. He was listening to Odyssey chief Dr Strand lay out her dream for a better world.
Unfortunately, at that moment Leviathan’s agent comes calling and Odyssey is blown to smithereens, its agents vaporised or teleported away.
But Steve was spared to, he reckons, cast suspicion on him. And he thinks he’s not the only patsy.
Steve gets so paranoid that he pulls a weapon on Batman and Lois, causing another hero to step from the shadows.
It’s Green Arrow!
Boy, the shadows of the Odyssey building are certainly choc-a-bloc with skulkers. First Batman, then Lois, Steve, Green Arrow and, we soon learn, the Question too. But while Lois and friends plan to form a detectives’ circle to work out what Leviathan wants before he, she or it strikes again, the Question stands alone.
So far, anyway. The publicity for this series has him with the rest of the Super-Sherlocks (mind, when was Green Arrow a detective?), so he’ll join the party before long, no Question.
I rather enjoyed this issue. Bendis and artist Alex Maleev made a great team on Spider-Woman at Marvel and they’re on fine form here – the chapter is talky, light on action, but compelling – and this series is billed as a ‘mystery thriller’ rather than an action epic. Bendis excels at dialogue that’s low-key while acknowledging the wildness of the DC Universe, while Maleev’s naturalistic, gritty, full-colour art grounds the Fantastic.
My problem is that we’ve had such a long run-up to the mini, with Action Comics and the Leviathan Rising special, that this often feels like just more of the same. The only fresh element is the reveal of the Odyssey building, which will likely be restored by the end of the story, ready to serve a new Argus. There is a hint that Steve Trevor and Talia al-Ghul have A Past, but that’s possibly just Bendis teasing.
So who is Leviathan? Over at Supergirl Comic Box Commentary, my chum Dr Anj has been running posts outlining his theories, I recommend popping over there after you’ve read this. Me, I got nothing. I could try and make a case that Batman’s comment about their unknown foe having no ego points to a Superman robot deciding to outdo its creator. Or point out that the awkward title ‘Event Leviathan’ spells out ‘El’ – maybe a relative? If you read the comments on my Superman #12 post you’ll have come across an interesting/terrifying observation from the excellent Rob Staeger.
Does anyone have a suggestion? The final page shows Leviathan trying to recruit a character and on their coffee table – how villainous – we see what looks to be a tub of protein shake/whey powder, a tray of sushi and some pills… is our hidden villain a gym bunny?