Event Leviathan #6 [of 6]
Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 13, 2019
Cover date: January 2020
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Alex Maleev
Cover: Alex Maleev
Variant Cover: Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair
Reviewed by: Mario Bennese
Superman comes into Lois Lane’s room and gives her the rundown of everything that has happened. A brief history of the Manhunters is given where it is explained that they were like the Green Lanterns before the Green Lanterns existed. While this narration is happening, the audience is shown what happened to Batman and company after Talia and Silencer knocked them off the road. Talia demands Kate’s staff and in a moment of panic, Kate engages in battle with the team. The fight doesn’t last long as Kate is tased by Talia, knocking her out. Batman looks over Kate’s tech and the detectives begin speaking sign language to avoid being listened in on. It’s determined by Batman that Kate was nothing more than a patsy. Moments later, the other detective team arrive. Per Batman’s request, Zatanna transports them to the Batcave.
Back with Superman and Lois, the Man of Steel reveals Leviathan’s true identity: Mark Shaw. Mark was a former Manhunter, an ex-Suicide Squad member, and ex-spy. As Shaw monologues, Batman and the other detectives suddenly appear, having discovered the location of Leviathan Island. Before they can engage in battle, Leviathan vanishes. Although Shaw has gone, his plan to release the world’s secrets remains in play. The team struggles to come up with a way to put a stop to things when Batgirl pulls out a device Amanda Waller snuck to her. Talia starts to lose her composure before Green Arrow knocks her out with a taser arrow.
Lois stops Clark in the middle of the story and decides that Leviathan’s identity is the story she wants to write first. The article is published.
In a remote location, Shaw reads the article. He is joined by Guardian. Leviathan seemingly intends to return.
Story – 1: I’m not surprised we end this series with more recaps. To be honest, as annoying as it is, this method of storytelling works better with individual issues. I can’t even begin to imagine how frustrating this will be to read as a collected edition. As a whole, this event has had poor story flow that massively hinders and undermines whatever it was Bendis was going for here. The entirety of this series has been nothing but stop-and-go storytelling with a lot of stalling. This story didn’t need to be six issues long. Perhaps it was a decision from the higher ups at DC, but I also don’t rule out the possibility of this being a Bendis decision. His run on Action Comics follows the same “take forever to tell one story” pattern.
Concerning the reveal of Leviathan’s true identity, who really cares? How many DC fans have honestly thought about Mark Shaw in the past 20 years? The reveal is disappointing and the shock factor isn’t present because there was both a weak buildup of intrigue and the character is so obscure to a lot of readers that it doesn’t mean much. Further, if you want to have a compelling and engaging mystery, you need to drop clues throughout the story that, in retrospect add up to the reveal. That was hardly done as the team only began to consider a
Manhunter as a possibility in the penultimate issue. No clues to support the theory, no hints for the reader, just a moment of forced plot steering.
The climax of this book is unsatisfying. I’ll admit that my expectations were subverted with Bendis avoiding a big brawl, but that doesn’t make it a good subversion. It’s like Bendis placed a glass on a table, opened a bottle of wine, but instead of pouring it into the glass, he poured it directly onto the table. A brawl would have made this issue somewhat interesting. The final pages feel rushed with Batman and company conveniently discovering the location of Leviathan Island and Batgirl pulling out a device that was never introduced to the audience, which holds some level of power to aid in the team’s dilemma. Of course, in true Bendis fashion, resolution to the dilemma is ignored and we get a teaser for Leviathan’s eventual return. Again I ask, who cares?
Art – 3: The art in this issue isn’t terrible, but much like the writing, it feels a bit rushed. Superman often appears scrawny and there’s a panel where he doesn’t have his S-shield. That’s quite the oversight.
Cover Art – 3: This cover is just okay, but what’s with Superman? He looks like he hasn’t eaten in a year.
Variant Cover Art – 3: The composition for the upper portion of this cover is good. The bottom feels a bit cluttered.
Check out the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.