Event Leviathan #2 // Review
Writer Brian Michael Bendis has described Event Leviathan as a whodunit. The first issue established the crime--the obliteration of a new ARGUS facility, the culmination of the mysterious new Leviathan’s dismantling of the DC Universe’s spycraft infrastructure--and the second issue introduces a potential suspect: Jason Todd, AKA the Red Hood.
Much like the first issue was an extended conversation between Batman and Lois Lane, issue #2 is primarily a conversation between Batman and Jason, discussing the specifics of the case. This conversation is interspersed with flashbacks of The Question and Plastic Man, both members of Batman’s ad hoc squad of detectives, and their investigation into the attacks on Lois Lane’s father, General Sam Lane.
As with issue 1, this is Bendis at his wordiest, as Batman delivers exposition and tries to interrogate Jason without being obvious about it. Bendis clearly knows his way around these characters--unlike some of his books, where each character sounds like they have the same voice, here Batman, Jason, Sam Lane, Plastic Man, and Leviathan all have distinct voices that ring true to each character. It’s particularly exciting that Leviathan clearly has an altruistic goal, setting him (her? them?) apart from the villains of the DCU.
Alex Maleev’s art, with letters by Josh Reed, is gorgeous. 23 pages of conversation could be boring, but Maleev stages the scene for maximum visual interest and packs nuance and intention into the “acting” of Jason and Bruce. Maleev’s digital backgrounds are particularly stunning, and he mines the action out of the two flashback sequences.
The central thesis of the issue--that Jason Todd may well be Leviathan--is almost certainly a red herring, picking up as it does on a thread introduced way back in May’s Year of the Villain special and reintroduced here in the second issue of a six-issue series. Still, it leads to some compelling drama between two characters with a deep history and is sure to include clues to Leviathan’s true identity. Event Leviathan #2 is an exciting part of Bendis and Maleev’s wild ride.