Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Alex Maleev / DC Comics
The finale of the Event Leviathan story is here: the leader’s identity is finally revealed. The downside to be taken on a 6-issue ride with a bunch of characters you’re only casually familiar with, is that the big news doesn’t hit as hard. The revelation relates deep into decades of DC history. I can see Bendis standing in front of a crowd of me’s: “Mwahahaha! It was a character with ties to spies, the original Leviathan, Suicide Squad, and even Checkmate!”. My response: “Uh . . . cool; I’ll take your word for it.” My plebeian response aside, this was a solid wrap-up to a fantastic story. This book’s strength was in not trying to over-explain an overly complicated final plan. That was particularly surprising after how long this Leviathan event has lasted.
The issue opens with Leviathan’s attack on Sam Lane resulting in his death. There’s an early reference to the last issue’s panel with Lois Lane holding her father in her arms in the midst of a frozen tundra followed by the present Lois with a tear in her eye. The first pages are incredibly emotional but Lois and Clark snap back to business to address the two fronts of the fight. First, our street-level heroes are attacked by Talia al Ghul on the hunt for Kate Spencer. Elsewhere, the heavy hitters — Superman and Plastic Man — are able to plunge into one of Leviathan’s energy blasts and face the main boss. This has been Bendis’ storytelling style for this book. He starts with the present and has the character’s explanations serve as the narration for the action in the flashbacks.
The book has flaws. Even for a Bendis loyalist, there was a lot of text. Alongside that, the pages got very crowded by the two separate Detective Teams. Even when there weren’t as many characters on panel, some of the smaller renditions of the heroes felt weak. There were some great panels, but in the finale of a book with such an iconic creative team the missteps are glaring.
A couple of gems stood out. First, the interactions between Talia, Robin, and Batman were great; littered with jokes and reminders that Talia is Batman’s baby mama. “Wait, are you really his mom?”. My favorite block of awesomeness was the team using sign language to throw off Leviathan’s surveillance. Lastly, I empathize with Leviathan. He was so sure that Superman would be on board with his plan that you can feel his pain, disappointment, and rage when it’s clear that was never going to happen. He was so polite and reverent to Supe for this entire ordeal so when I read, “Well Fuck you, Superman” I was physically taken aback. The next chapter in this story in the new Action Comics hints at the abandonment of the carefully planned, slow-burn, detective-centered Event Leviathan. I think we might get some big brawls.
8 “Profane Talias” out of 10
Reading Event Leviathan? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.