Jason Todd has been accused! Attacked! Pursued! But has he been caught? Find out in Event Leviathan #3! Spoilers ahead!
A mess of dialogue and confusing visuals
Unfortunately, Event Leviathan’s third issue is a lot more like the first than the second. Bendis returns his focus to a room full of characters talking, and this type of setup is not his strong suit. Batman often speaks in weird ways, and the whole affair feels like an attempt to create some vibe, rather than solve a mystery.
In this particular case, everyone seems to blame Batman for Jason Todd escaping, but the flashback depicting their conflict never justifies the blame. Yes, Batman attempts to save Robin, preventing him from continuing his (much appreciated) Jason-punching; but this is crystal-clear. It isn’t Bruce letting Jason go.
What isn’t crystal-clear is Maleev’s storytelling. I won’t pretend to be an artist, or that I fully understand how it all works. But as a reader, and someone who thinks about these things every week, I found myself scratching my head in confusion through most of the fight with Jason. Let’s take this page for example:
Look at the interactions with Plastic Man on the second row. Does Jason shoot Plas? Does he push him off? Why does Maleev decide to throw another arrow into the next panel? And why does it look like it’s emanating from Plastic Man? Then we go immediately from that to Damian on top of Jason. While I do appreciate the beat-down, the jump from the previous, confusing, panel to this one is jarring.
Next, Damian shouts NO! We learn in the next panel that he’s shouting it at Batman, but in this panel, it isn’t clear. Batman is behind him, but Damian is looking completely in the opposite direction, so how could he know Bats is there?
The three fall through some glass and into a pool, and we come to this:
This is not good. The top three panels are shot from the same side angle, and there’s no sense of continuity or how the action is flowing from one panel to the next. The previous page indicates that this body of water is fairly deep, so how are they punching each other with any force? How is Damian pulling off that kick with no ground beneath him? Or maybe they’re still underwater? If so, again, how are they hitting with any real force?
Now look at panel four: what the heck is happening here? Is Jason getting out of the pool? How did he lose his mask? How does this equate to “he kicked our asses” in the final panel?
Why does it have to be so visually confusing? I wish I could say it gets better, but the Manhunter pursuit that follows is filled with similarly-disjointed storytelling. The dialogue gets better when Jason and Lois talk Leviathan, but when the visuals make you feel like your brain is still pages behind, it’s tough to appreciate.
Of course, I haven’t addressed the worst of this: the underlying problem of Jason Todd escaping a whole team of people—a team that includes Batman and Robin. Jason is incredibly skilled, yes, but this makes no sense to me. You could make the argument that too many fighters makes things harder for the team on offense, but that seems like a convenient cop-out, particularly when, again, Batman and Robin get a shot at him without any other heroes intervening.
Who is Leviathan? Who cares?
At this point, why should we care who Leviathan is? When he (or she) was the focal point—even in issue #1, which I did not enjoy—the mystery was much more compelling. But the focus now seems to be, as I said, creating a vibe. And honestly? That vibe is annoying. It has its bright spots, like the aforementioned conversation between Lois and Jason; but, overall, the dialogue is pretty bad, and the characterization follows it down. Instead of writing a mystery, Bendis decided to write a big, team-up character study with a mystery as the inciting device, but with the characters most often feeling all wrong, it isn’t working.
- You’re a glutton for punishment.
One out of three might be a good average in baseball, but for Event Leviathan, it’s just not good enough. The book seems more about style than substance, but neither the verbal nor visual stylings can make up for awkward dialogue and storytelling. Move along—this one’s not worth your time, let alone your money.
DISCLAIMER: Batman News received an advance review copy of this book from DC Comics.