Review: SUPERMAN: LEVIATHAN RISING #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis, Greg Rucka, Matt Fraction, Marc Andreyko
Artists: Yanick Paquette, Mike Perkins, Steve Lieber, Eduardo Pansica & Júlio Ferreira
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn, Paul Mounts, FCO Plascencia
Letters: Dave Sharpe, Simon Bowland, Clayton Cowles, Tom Napolitano, ALW’s Troy Peteri
Reviewed By: Ari Bard
Leviathan’s been taking down espionage organizations across the DCU, and his next target is… Clark Kent?! In an epic 72-page issue, join a remarkable team of creators as Superman learns the mystery behind Leviathan with the help of his closest friends.
Superman: Leviathan Rising was a whirlwind of an issue. There’s so much character, heart, and story packed into these 72 pages that it’ll leave your head spinning as you grasp what just happened and anticipate the actual event. This is a story Brian Michael Bendis has had in his head ever since he came to DC, and to see it finally coming to fruition with the help of an unbelievably talent group of writers, artists, colorists, and letterers is extremely rewarding. The idea that all of the DC Universe’s espionage organizations, all of the clandestine groups working in secret, are in play here is tantalizing. Everyone has had their favorite DC spy or DC detective story, and Bendis is bringing all of those characters into one large event.
Bendis’s framework story is equal parts mystery, espionage, and humor. Leviathan Rising is the crux upon which this issue rests and it supports the three stories within it perfectly while still remaining its own thing. It’s mystifying to see two villains that have managed to stay under Superman’s radar talk and walk around the Man of Steel all while plotting to take him down. This is the lead-in to an event in the making, but more than that, it’s a phenomenal issue all on its own. Greg Rucka brings a clear grit and attitude to the character of Lois Lane. She may be a devoted wife and a great writer, but she’s also the pinnacle of investigative journalism with the power of the press, and the Justice League, behind her. Lois Lane is not a woman you want to mess with, and Greg Rucka shows you exactly why.
Now you’re about halfway through the issue and you think you’ve seen it all. What else could they bring besides the the intrigue and a thrilling kidnapping plot? That’s when Matt Fraction comes in an blows it all away with his Jimmy Olsen story. You’ve not seen old-school wacky mixed with new-school storytelling until you’ve read this issue. It’s completely insane in all the best ways and is sure to get you excited for his upcoming miniseries with the character. Steve Lieber’s art is a time machine back to the Silver Age where you couldn’t figure out how people got into a situation for the life of you, and you were okay with it. It’s easy to see why no one takes Jimmy Olsen seriously, and it’s easy to see why Superman trusts him the most when his life is in danger. Buckle up folks, because Matt Fraction’s about to take you on a wild ride. It goes without saying that, sometimes, consolidation is necessary. DC has had to find ways to organize the multiverse in the past when things got a little too out of hand, but no one’s ever thought of taking the countless evil organizations lurking within the corners of the DC universe and trying to make sense of it before. Leviathan Rising is a thrilling journey that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
There is no great way to give enough credit to the art team on this issue. Each artist brings their own unique style to the Action Comics mythos and each of them look beautiful. These are veteran artists who clearly know what they’re doing, and you can see that as they bring the humor to Clark Kent, the grittiness to Lois Lane, the zaniness to Jimmy Olsen, and the tragedy to Supergirl. There’s a lot to love about each individual story and art style but especially how it all comes together. The styles in Leviathan Rising may be different, but they are all undoubtedly Superman.
With any single issue that over triple the standard length, there are bound to be some areas that don’t sit right. There are some odd character decisions made here and there and a conversation with Talia Al Ghul that feels a bit clunky, but it’s not enough to really take you out of the story.
Superman: Leviathan Rising is a brilliant issue from a a large creative team that’s sure to keep you waiting in anticipation for Event Leviathan later this summer.