The conspiracy thriller is not a common genre you find in the DC Universe. It’s more of a trope you’d find at the competition. However, does the build up and execution here make me a believer?
The conspiracy gets kicked off by Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev and Joshua Reed.
Batman and Lois Lane find themselves both at the same disaster site- a bombed out ARGUS facility intended to serve as a new metahuman outreach center. There they share their findings about the mysterious organization called Leviathan and search for survivors, discovering Steve Trevor. After questioning Trevor, the duo agrees this is bigger than them, and as Green Arrow arrives, they decide to seek out the help of the DCU’s greatest detectives…
This issue is simply a single conversation, but Bendis makes it an absolutely engrossing read. He lays out all the clues in a way that does feel exposition heavy, primarily using dialogue and the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Lois Lane to draw us in. He even adds detail we didn’t know, as the Leviathan plot thus far hasn’t included Batman heavily, but it’s clear that he’s been embroiled in it as much as Superman and Lois have.
There are a few minor plot holes that distract a bit from the plot. If the bombing really was forty-two minutes ago, how did Lois get there so fast? Why did Steve become so paranoid so quickly? And where did Ollie come from?
The star in this issue is really and truly Maleev’s art. In his first major DC work in decades, he steps into the universe fully and quickly. He captures each character readily and is able to help us relate. His Batman is just fantastic, with a stoic and inquisitive nature that not every artist can get. He also fills each page with authentic details, such as rubble that feels photo real and small touches like bags of chips on desks.
His colors are amazing as well. He uses light on his pages to show how horrifying the attack is, but also how majestic the facility was before its ruin. He also uses backlighting to highlight the character nicknamed Leviathan, and make his red mask jump off the page.
It’s a slow start, but this is a mystery, and these pages lay out the first round of clues for us. I’m excited to see where it goes.
Event Leviathan #1 is available now from DC Comics.