Who is Leviathan? With secret organizations—good and evil—beaten, Batman closes in on his chief suspect. Is he right about Jason Todd? Is Batgirl still alive? Will DC revive that old 900-number and give us a chance to decide Jason’s fate on our own? Find out (some of these things) in Event Leviathan #2.
Now that’s more like it
Event Leviathan #1 was bad. I did not like it. The dialogue was just not doing it for me, and the story was pretty boring. Much to my delight, Bendis has turned it around considerably for #2. Batman sounds an awful lot more Batmanly than he did last time, and the story moves in far more interesting ways. We open on Batman and Jason, and you could cut the tension with a knife. Jason’s body language is executed wonderfully by Maleev, with the once-Robin frequently showing his back to his mentor. You get the sense early on that Jason might be hiding something. The characters are positioned perfectly, too, with Batman on the high ground, looking down.
Bendis and co. then take us through two flashbacks, one with the Question camping out in Sam Lane’s hospital room, that somehow manages to produce a moment funnier than anything in the second flashback—that one centering on Plastic Man’s encounter with Leviathan himself. I can’t stress enough how much better the dialogue works this time around. Yes, it’s good to see familiar heroes speak more like I think they should, but the charismatic Leviathan is a major draw, too. I don’t think he’s actually Jason Todd, because that’s a bit too obvious; but I am fascinated by the whole thing, and one of his statements—”the world needs us to do better” (emphasis mine)—suggests that he is, indeed, some misguided do-gooder.
Or maybe he’s just trying to make everyone think that. Either way—compelling.
A page and a spread that make up for everything
This entire issue is a marked improvement above #1, as I’ve explained above. I genuinely enjoyed reading the whole thing. But the three pages preceding the last one—a single page and a double-page spread—are some of my favorite pages in anything I’ve read this week. Jason is running through the list of potential suspects, and you can just feel it coming—the accusation that has been bubbling beneath the surface of their conversation. You turn the page, and it boils over, with Batman and his band of detectives pointing fingers at the Red Hood from on high. The dialogue that follows is nice and snappy, culminating in what might otherwise be the same old lame play on The Question’s name, but here works very well. The small panels of speech move you through the conversation at such a pace that any anticipation you might have had of this particular gag is a second or two behind the actual delivery of it. And given how Bendis gets us there, it hits you not as a lame, overdone word-game, but rather as the dramatic pause before the chase begins—which is exactly what it is. The music has been swelling, but now stops. Nobody is breathing.
The chase is on.
- You love a good mystery
- You think Jason Todd should be at odds with the rest of the heroes
- You’ve enjoyed the charismatic, expectation-defying Leviathan since he first appeared in Action Comics
Event Leviathan #2 is a massive improvement over the first installment. Bendis has a much better handle on the dialogue this time around, and there’s a stronger bond between the script and the artwork. There are some welcome moments of levity cutting through the tension, but the verbal and visual game-play between Batman and his former partner is some of the most impressive comic-booking I’ve seen lately. My faith is restored!
DISCLAIMER: Batman News received an advance review copy of this book from DC Comics.