Event Leviathan #1 // Review
The DC Universe has an overabundance of spy networks. On the side of the angels, there are ARGUS, the DEO, and Checkmate. On the more villainous side, there are Leviathan and Kobra. And then, somewhere in between, sit Spyral and Task Force X. Event Leviathan #1 aims to change all that.
This issue consists almost entirely of a conversation between Batman, Lois Lane, Steve Trevor and, eventually, Green Arrow amidst the wreckage of an ARGUS site, interspersed with flashbacks to its destruction by the mysterious Leviathan. Picking up on threads from Bendis’ run in Action Comics, as well as the recent Superman: Leviathan Rising special, the comic gives the new reader an extremely barebones recap of the events that have been happening in those comics in the form of some exposition early in the conversation. The issue sets up a mystery--who is Leviathan, and what are they planning to do next?--as well as a ticking clock to solve the mystery.
All eyes are on writer Brian Michael Bendis’ first big event comic since his move to DC from Marvel in 2018. Now that it’s here, Event Leviathan #1 is, for better and for worse, exactly what any longtime Bendis reader would expect to see. A great deal of the chapter works, and a bit of it doesn’t. He clearly has a vision for reshaping the DC Universe, and the mystery of how it’s going to get there is a compelling one. Bendis’ famously wordy dialogue is in full effect here; unfortunately, he fails to give all of his characters, particularly unique voices, but at least the patter is entertaining. Nothing much seems to happen in this issue, odd for an event comic with the word event in the title, but the ideas and the mysteries contained in the book are exciting, particularly for longtime DC Comics fans.
The art, by longtime Bendis collaborator Alex Maleev, is stunning. The scenes in the ARGUS wreckage are as moody and shadowy as any Maleev fan could hope for in a Batman interrogation, and the brighter flashback moments are delightfully trippy. Maleev and letterer Joshua Reed collaborate well for placement of the overabundance of word balloons.
DC Comics fans and Brian Michael Bendis fans will find a lot to love in Event Leviathan #1. Critics of Bendis who decry his tendency toward extreme verbosity will see their fears confirmed. All in all, it’s a compelling, if flawed, first issue setting up what could be an exciting new era at DC.