Gathering The Pieces For A Checkmate: ‘Leviathan Dawn #1’ Reviewed

by Josh Davison

Mild Spoilers Ahead
Leviathan’s bid for world domination failed, but a new day still dawns. Leviathan leader Mark Shaw has revealed himself and his organization has a technologically-advanced island from which to plot and prepare for their next move. However, Leviathan’s enemies are doing the same. A man calling himself “King” breaks Colonel Steve Trevor to begin recruiting for a new team of his own. From there, they go to find Director Bone in Arkham Asylum, Lois Lane in Coast City, Green Arrow in Star City, the Question in Beijing, the Manhunter in Gotham, and Talia al Ghul in Iron Heights.

Leviathan Dawn #1 cover by Alex Maleev
Leviathan Dawn #1 cover by Alex Maleev

Leviathan Dawn #1 continues the saga of DC’s biggest new criminal organization after the conclusion of Event Leviathan. They’ve suffered some setbacks, but they are readying their next strike at the status quo.
However, most of the comic focuses on King and Trevor gathering together the members of their new Checkmate. It’s a “gathering the team together” book, showing the members of the new Checkmate and how Trevor convinces them to come aboard, though we aren’t actually shown how Trevor and King contact Lois, Question, and Manhunter.
The greatest sin of Event Leviathan was the fact that much of the comic consisted of its main characters snarking at one another about who was really Leviathan and little action or actual plot advancement. I’m hoping Leviathan: Checkmate won’t turn out the same way, though Leviathan Dawn doesn’t quite allay those fears. There is a plot which moves forward in this comic, but the climax once again consists of the new Checkmate snarking at each other in a dark room again.
Leviathan Dawn #1 art by Alex Maleev and letterer Joshua Reed
Leviathan Dawn #1 art by Alex Maleev and letterer Joshua Reed

That said, there is definitely something to be said about an excuse to read a sequential art story consisting of artwork from Alex Maleev. The visuals are excellent and moody. The shadowing is never so oppressive that it impedes the clarity of what’s going on. Plus, Maleev’s color work is a nice mixture of grim and otherworldly. 
Leviathan Dawn #1 is an entertaining and somewhat promising bridge between Event and Checkmate. It has the trademark Brian Michael Bendis quick-talking and quippity dialogue and it remains strong throughout. Add to that a killer cast and the phenomenal Maleev artwork, and you have a book worth recommending. Check it out.
Leviathan Dawn #1 comes to us from writer Brian Michael Bendis, artist and cover artist Alex Maleev, and letterer Joshua Reed.
Final Score: 7.5/10

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