Updated: Jan 24, 2020
EVENT LEVIATHAN #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev
Publisher: DC Comics
After months of waiting and clues littered all throughout the Superman books, EVENT LEVIATHAN has arrived. I have been anticipating this book since it was first teased and my excitement only heightened when I spoke with Bendis on the phone and could hear the excitement in his own voice. Bendis and Maleev are synonymous with some of the best storytelling the comic book medium has ever seen. Their award winning DAREDEVIL run and the amazing SCARLET series are must reads for any comic book fan. When it was announced that they would be teaming up to do a DC event, I knew it would be special. I was expecting to be blown away by this first issue, thinking that there would be some sort of big revelation or at least some surprise that would make my jaw drop. Well that didn't happen, instead we had a somewhat quiet issue, full of great little character moments and tension building scenes. This is a mystery/espionage book the likes of which have never been seen in the DCU.
To recap: The espionage community has taken a serious hit, Kobra, A.R.G.U.S., the D.E.O., Cadmus and Spyral were all taken down in one day. The mysterious Leviathan is the one who took them down. The identity of Leviathan is a mystery. It could be anybody. Most likely it will be someone we know, villain or hero. What the goals of Leviathan are, have been a mystery. All we can say is that the DCU has been left in shambles and very vulnerable.
We saw in the SUPERMAN LEVIATHAN SPECIAL that Clark Kent got kidnapped by Talia Al Ghul and is now off the board. Cue intrepid reporter Lois Lane. She has been one of the most underutilized characters at DC for years, mostly during New52, so it's nice to see her back at the forefront where she belongs.
The issue begins with Batman examining the destruction of a facility that got destroyed, it's here that our "League of Detectives" begins to form. Lois enters the scene by sneaking up on Batman. It's here that Bendis' signature dialogue pulls the reader in. Lois and Batman's interaction is the main attraction of this issue. We don't see them converse very often, and this issue makes you wonder why. They have such a great dynamic and are connected because of their relationship with Superman. As they're discussing Leviathan, they notice Steve Trevor sitting there injured. He somehow escaped Batman's sensors, which obviously pissed Bats off. This is where we learn that the facility was set to be the new headquarters for A.R.G.U.S.
Steve explained how the facility got destroyed, telling them that he was left alive to be set up as the scapegoat. At the same time he thinks that Lois is Leviathan and shoots at her. But another hero enters the fray, Green Arrow. He shoots a taser arrow at Trevor, knocking him out. It's here that Batman, Lois and Arrow discuss putting a team of the world greatest detectives together to beat Leviathan. They have little time to do it before Leviathan completes his mater plan. What they don't notice, is The Question hiding in the shadows. The way Maleev hid him there was brilliant, all you see is his "face".
While this is a slow burn mystery, I can't think of a better way to have kicked off this event. Bendis' superb script and dialogue was on point as usual. This really was Bendis doing Bendis. All of his strengths were on full display. All those naysayers, about him coming to DC, can quiet themselves now. If you don't see the love and care being put into his DC work, then maybe we're reading different books.
It was Maleev's masterful art skills that were on full display. It was awesome seeing him cut loose on a DC book, this is really the perfect story for him to illustrate. I've always though he works best in shadows and darker stories. He helped build the tension and set the atmosphere for this thrilling story. This just might be my favorite work of Maleev's yet. You can see that he's having the time of his life.
EVENT LEVIATHAN is two masters of their craft creating a unique and thrilling series, the like of which we've never seen. While this first issue wasn't everything I expected, it was a solid first issue. This is shaping up to have serious repercussions across the DCU. If you haven't been reading the Superman books, this is the perfect jumping on point. If you have, then you already know that this is a must read.