Superman: Leviathan Rising
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis, Greg Rucka, Matt Fraction, Marc Andreyko
Artists: Yanick Paquette, Mike Perking, Steve Lieber, Eduardo Pansica, and Julio Ferreira
Colorists: Nathan Fairbairn, Paul Mounts, Foo Plascencia
Letterers: Dave Sharpe, Simon Bowland, Clayton Cowles, Tom Napolitano, ALW’s Troy Peteri
Review by KrisK
It takes a village, as the proverb goes, and it certainly took a village to create this behemoth. Priced at $9.99 and possessing a spine so thick that it contains the title of the story, Superman: Leviathan Rising, this comic surpasses the other event series in size and cost. Basically, this book fits the category of graphic novella than comic book issue. At first, I bulked at paying $9.99 for a comic, but I am glad I changed my mind. This one is worth the money.
If you haven’t been following the recent run on Action Comics by Brian Michael Bendis, you may think Metropolis lacks much organized crime. Turns out, crime lives right under Superman’s nose in the form of the Invisible Mafia. The Invisible Mafia lives in the shadows. Unlike other criminals in Metropolis, they avoid Superman. When they meet, they speak not a word of him, kryptonite, or Lois Lane. No words Superman pays attention to if he hears them with his super hearing. Their leader, Leone, prizes secrecy above all else.
The other major Superman villain appearing is Leviathan. While Leviathan used to be an organization run by Talia Al Ghul, but the new leader plays a more dangerous game. Leviathan destroyed metahuman intelligence organizations such as the DEO and Argus. While their endgame remains cloudy, they clearly plan to change the world order.
This issue begins with Leviathan surprising Leone at a shop. He asks her the secret to beating Superman. She tells him her motto. Stay invisible to him. Don’t let him know you are there until the trap is set, and don’t waste your time monologuing. Be brutal, be efficient. He takes it to heart, and he creates a trap for Superman which succeeds more than he knows. The trap and its execution is just a fourth of the story.
The second part follows Lois Lane as she calls in favors in investigating a disappearance. With Lois Lane getting her own series this summer, DC lets writer Greg Rucka pitch his series to readers by showing off Lois Lane on her own in her own element. She works at finding her own clues to Leviathan, working with Batman, Wonder Woman, and Firestorm to find the man kidnapped by Leviathan.
The third portion, written by Matt Fraction, lets Jimmy Olsen get some spotlight. After being a background character since the New 52 began, Jimmy shows he can save the world in his own way, though he may do so in an fumbling fashion more resembling Bilbo Baggins then Superman. Jimmy wakes up in Gorilla City on his world-wide book tour for his book of photography with a ring on his left index finger and a woman in his bed. And its no average woman. (It’s also not a gorilla.) With a guest appearance from my favorite Red Lantern, Matt Fraction lightens up the issue with some good old fashion Olsen shenanigans.
The fourth, and smallest portion, follows Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl. She visits the destruction Leviathan reaped on the DEO, in search of the agents who raised her. While she searches the wreckage, a figure watches from the roofs, and we see glimpses of the recent days of her parents. Kara only finds destruction and a clue, leading to Leviathan.
The comic bounces around tones and styles, but it always feels cohesive and planned and never frenetic or sloppy. Even the more serious beats keep a sense of humor and the lighter beats stay tied to the story. None of the story falls flat or serves as filler. Every page keeps the reader engaged and satisfied. Each writer nails their character’s essence, breathing life into them.
The art stands out as well. Each section portrays a unique ambiance matching the tone of the writing. The art team never skimps on the details or faces as they capture the emotions the characters feel. The art in the Jimmy Olsen section made me stop and soak it in. The plot may be good, but you don’t want to fly by this art faster than a speeding bullet. The color pallet varies with each section, but even when the colors darken, they retain a deep, rich quality.
Verdict: Buy! The book is worth the price as it delivers multiple stories worth rereading. I went into this comic with hesitance, but the combined efforts of the village full of creators eased my doubts and blew me away.