Friday, May 24, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1011

Action Comics #1011, part 5 of Leviathan Rising, came out this week. Written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Steve Epting, this chapter focused on enriching the mystery of who or what Leviathan is. We get a lot of discussion, a lot of information, and a lot of clues. And since I already have a theory I am anchored on, I saw a lot of corroborating information.  Of course, I am anchored.

One thing that Bendis does very well is character development and moments. There isn't much action in this issue. But we get a whole role call of people who are impacted by the Leviathan attacks. It is interesting to see the patsies having to fight back. It is intriguing to see spies wonder just what is going to happen next. And we get to see the clout that the press has in the DCU. This is a great Lois issue.

The art by Steve Epting is solid work, perfect for this more street level espionage story. The scenes play out well and he has subtle expressive work which helps in the dialogue scenes which dominate this issue. And the cover, showing the weight of the problem on Superman is brilliant.

But this is what a mystery is like. Not every issue is going to be a slugfest. For someone like me, who devours clues, looks for patterns, and wants to solve the mystery, these issues are a gold mine. I loved it.

On to the book.

The pattern of opening the book with a shot of someone's desk.

This appears to be Perry White's tablet and desk.

The tablet shows just how profound the day before was. Attacks on the DEO, Argus, and the Kobra Cult are all headlines. The country seems to be gripped by fear. Congress is screaming that we are under attack.

But the notes are just as interesting. We see he has to meet with the Planet's new owners. Lois seems to have gotten into some trouble with the White House.

And then the story above which mentions how Captain Atom was at the DEO explosion.

Hmmm ...

As you know, Atom is part of my theory. So to see him reappear in the DCU and start being mentioned in the periphery of stories seems to add some credence to my idea. At least for me.

Last issue, a Leviathan higher up, appearing as Kate Spencer,  killed Director Bones.

As a result, the Special Crime Unit (led by Maggie Sawyer) teamed with the FBI want to bring her in for murder and terrorism.

Kate isn't going to go peacefully for a crime she didn't commit. And she shows just how much she has kept up with her training by fighting off the squad sent after her.

It seems that some sort of claustrophobic hallway fight is mandatory these days.

But where can the Manhunter run to?

Back in London (presented in a panel with LONDON written in those big spy movie letters), Lois meets back up with Superman after the Leviathan attack on Spyral. She was momentarily hidden by Spyral tech.

While hidden, she tells Spyral agent Tiger who she really is. She isn't a Spyral agent, she is Lois Lane.

I love how surprised and impressed he looks when he learns that. The name Lois Lane has carries with it some respect in the DCU, even for a top agent in a spy organization.

Knowing that he is talking to Lois, he gives her intel, the entirety of Spyral's database.

Remember, last issue we learned that Leviathan was created by Spyral as a convenient enemy to fight to justify the organization's existence. Now that Leviathan has become a real threat, the leaders have run.

He asks Lois to write the hell out of this story. The truth needs to come out.

Again, it shows just how respected Lois is. He gives her all of Spyral's information knowing she will do what is right.

I loved this scene.

Lois calls Perry to tell him that she has this story. She can write something about Leviathan and Spyral and blow this thing up.

First Perry asks for a 'Lois Lane' headline, which must mean something memorable and quotable and original.

But then he asks her to fact check Tiger's intel. I love how he rolls his eyes when she tries to skirt that obvious rule of journalism. Classic.

She knows she needs that second source. So why not gather up Tiger.

Well, it turns out Leviathan doesn't like loose ends. The enforcer, crackling with light blue energy, shows up and eliminates him.

That image looks a little familiar. More on that probably next week after I do some research.

With Tiger out of the picture, Lois and Superman head to another Spyral agent, the Huntress.

I haven't read any recent Huntress stories. I don't know her Spyral history. But I love how cautious and smart she sounds here. She can't vouch for the info. She doesn't think Lois should publish the information as the regular world isn't read to hear about this. She says this doesn't sound like the Leviathan that Talia Al Ghul was running.

And lastly, she can't believe that Superman left Amanda Waller alone anywhere.

Again, there is an easy confidence this Huntress seems to have here. Where Tiger was floored by Lois, this Huntress is talking to and disagreeing and even mocking Superman and Lois here.

Meanwhile, in a Metropolis hospital, The Guardian recovers from his attack by the Invisible Mafia.

He is recruited by someone, someone whose face keeps shifting. This person doesn't care about the mafia. They have a bigger prize in mind. And they want Harper to be part of the group.


I don't know if this fits neatly into my theory. But I do think that Leviathan isn't killing the members of these spy organizations. There are no bodies. I have always felt that Leviathan is probably bringing these agents in under one banner. So why not the Guardian.

Back in the Fortress, Superman discovers Jimmy knocked out and Waller gone. She took a Bat-Pod that Batman keeps there.

It seems to point to Waller possibly being Leviathan. Maybe Lois should print that story.

In another nice moment, we see Superman tell Jimmy that he trusts his best pal. But he keeps his civilian life secret to keep Jimmy safe.

I suppose this proves, as Rebirth set out to do, that the Johns/Romita story where Jimmy knows the identity is gone.

And then Superman talks about the Leviathan attack from last issue.

Moving at super-speed, Superman felt the brunt of the Leviathan enforcer's blue energy attack. It isn't destruction. It isn't disintegration. It feels like things just weren't there any more.

Hmmm ...

 This definitely fuels my theory.

More on that next week too. I have to do some research.

Then we get a nice movie poster splash page showing how big the problem is. With all these groups eliminated in one day, what will come tomorrow. We see the main players front and center. But then we see the others. General Lane still recovering. Manhunter on the run. Huntress looking over her shoulder. Waller looking to escape. Love this closing page.

But most of all, we see that Lois posted the story. 'Leviathan Rising' is a Lois Lane headline. What will happen tomorrow now that the story is out.

 I love how the next issue ad looks like a redacted document.

This was an impressive issue which laid out a bunch of information and clues. And I think I can use some of this to bolster some of my thoughts on who is behind Leviathan.

I don't think I have felt this invested in a comic mystery since Sensor Girl. (I'm old.)

Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

The Leviathan mystery is pretty interesting so far.

Perry's expression is priceless. How many times Lois has waved away the need for vetting her sources?

Huntress's face was also priceless, and she certainly had a point.

Leviathan's energy attack being kind of a matter-changing wave certainly supports your theory.

Martin Gray said...

Top review, this was the best issue yet of a great run.

That note on Perry’s desk wasn’t giving us anything new, it wasn’t talking about Captain Atom being at the DEO, it was referencing that Lexcorp explosion from the story in the 25c Year of the Villain Special.

As I think I suggested last time, Mr Bones isn’t dead - and look, he’s on the last page! Hurrah.

Once upon a time I’d have said that I did like the Planet scene but reporters don’t write their own headlines... sadly, the ever-shrinking staff levels these days mean a lot do. Not over the phone, mind!

Anonymous said...

A theory:

I don't know how this might tie into the ongoing Leviathan plot, and have no clue who the Leviathan being is, but it is interesting that Power Girl - who is included on the cover of the Leviathan Special - was actually last seen trapped inside an interdimensional space that is crackling with blue electric energy - a space about which one could conceivably say "things just weren't there any more." Tanya Spears tried to get her out and got stuck in there with her.

I don't know if we ever saw how Karen got in there, or we just found her there in Deathstroke Annual #1. As far as I know, that's where the two have remained until now.

I don't think I have to spell it out, but I'm suggesting a connection between this and the blue energy we're seeing, and the way things disappear.

If Karen is out, or gets out in the Special, well they aren't going to give away TOO much in the Special even before the Event mini-series gets underway, but maybe we are going to find out something about the source of this energy very soon. Then, dealing with it might take the bulk of the Event itself.

Who knows what else might be trapped in that void, that might be using those blue energies for its own game-changing ends? I suppose any alternate earth character we haven't seen in a while could have been trapped in there.

Maybe this interdimensional space is a universe-spanning web (sort of like fascia in the human body) that is connected on its edges to the Source Wall. And now cracks are forming in it due to the breaking of the Source Wall.

Hence, Power Girl was able to squeeze out through a crack, along with whatever else is in there.

I don't see Karen Starr as the one taking down organizations, even if she's on the heros' side. Wasn't she in charge of Starr Industries, a software company? This seems above her pay grade.

Apparently Tanya Spears worked with Huntress - so there's a potential remote connection to Spyral.

Did Starr Industries do any military contracting? Very common for software companies.


Anj said...

Great theory.

Leviathan wanting the ‘same thing’ as Superman could mean that Power Girl is part of this. And, perhaps, the woman who attacked Bones is Tanya?

I’d hate for Karen to be a villain, yet another take on Dark Supergirl. But it is a great idea!

You should post somewhere where Bendis can see it!