Friday, July 12, 2019

Review: Event Leviathan #2

Event Leviathan #2 came out this week and was another interesting chapter in this ongoing, all-reaching mystery. I feel like this series is going to have a pace like a snowball rolling down a mountain. We are still just building momentum. But as this moves on, my guess is things will go faster and crazier.

The first issue ended with Damien Wayne wondering if the Red Hood was Leviathan. After all, some of the aspects of these attacks sound like something that Jason Todd would do. This issue is Batman questioning Red Hood, trying to see if this allegation by Damien holds any weight.

Now admittedly, I am not a Jason Todd fan. I don't read the Red Hood. But my interactions with him in passing make me think that he isn't a team player. He isn't a leader. And he doesn't seem like one to be as organized as the Leviathan attacks have been. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

But the bulk of this issue is this quasi-interrogation. But there are clues sprinkled throughout, most of them in a scene between Plastic Man and Leviathan himself. Some of these definitely add to my theory, all of which will be laid out in a separate post.

Alex Maleev continues to stun me with his art and colors here. From the varied dappled nighttime scenes to the cool, in control 'green' of the Question, to the bright reds when action unfolds, this whole thing works.

I am totally on board here.

On to the story.

The Red Hood is outside the devastated ARGUS headquarters, investigating the scene from afar, when his old mentor Batman shows up.

They compare notes quickly. Leviathan has done the unthinkable, removing ARGUS, Spyral, the DEO, Kobra, and the original Leviathan group from the espionage world.

Moverover, Batgirl was on hand during one of the attacks and is missing. And Green Arrow was with her during the attack and was found in his home.  Whoever Leviathan is, he is coordinated. And he knows things ... like Ollie's home address.

Now that is an interesting thing to unpack. If Batman thinks Todd is Leviathan, then he must be telling the Red Hood all these things to gauge his response. After all, Todd would know all the things he has done.

 As in Action Comics where we get a view of people's desks as a peek behind the curtain, in Event Leviathan we get a corkboard of clues. This is as much a recap page as some text piece but so much more interesting.

Once more we hear that there are no bodies in the rubble of these attacks. The blue energy of these attacks suggests instant disintegration. Maybe no bodies are found because there aren't any bodies.

Still, that Green Arrow information is stuck in Jason's mind.

Finally, he asks Batman what he wants.

 Batman knows that there is a small window in time for the good guys to act. Leviathan acted swiftly. That means the next day, there will be a new reality. A new regime. Jason calls it a revolution.

With only hours to go, Batman is putting together a team of detectives to figure it all out. One of those detectives is Lois Lane, a member of the press. That shocks Jason ... it should. After all, they are all about stealth, not headlines.

Jason even wonders if Lois could be Leviathan.

But then Batman drops more information. Lois' father was attacked, suffered a heart attack but survived. It is doubtful that Lois would try to kill her own father. Especially since there was another attack on the General.

 Luckily, the Question was there to defend.

A Leviathan agent, dressed up in black leather and a finned helmet which reminds me of The Ray, came in finish the General off. With the guards outside the room incapacitated (offscreen sounding as if they were drugged or gassed), the assassin came in only to be confronted by the Question.

Before much can happen, the General pulls out a concealed sidearm and kills the Leviathan thug.

Now I can't imagine the hospital staff knew he had that gun. But the most unbelievable thing about this is that Lane is still in the ER! Get that man to an inpatient bed! Probably in a Cardiac Unit. Okay, I digress.

The uniform of the agent is certainly interesting.

I love the colors here. The Question is all Zen so the cool greens make sense. And that is shattered by the red of the gun shot.

 Moreover, it turns out that the killer as named Casey Klebba. He as an ARGUS agent.

As I thought all along, there aren't bodies at these attacks because the people in these organizations are being taken away and recruited. And it seems it is a pretty quick conversion. This is an ARGUS agent just hours after the attack.

 And then we get another scene.

The body of the Leviathan agent was scooped up by The Question so it could be examined for clues. Now it seems odd that Plastic Man gets that job, but he does.

And who should show up to claim the body but the man himself, Leviathan. It is a great scene with Leviathan stating his party line that people will willingly join his group when they see the goals, Plastic Man included.

But there are clues here. Leviathan says Plastic Man knows him, or who he was before he donned the Leviathan mask.

It seems like Leviathan is implying that they know each other from the Justice League. Hmmm...

But then that Justice League could simply be the beginning of a list as Leviathan rattles off all the other groups Plas has been a part of including the All Star Squadron and the Freedom Fighters all the way up to The Terrifics. These are all places Plas has tried to find a home in.

Are all those groups in continuity any more?? Hmmm ...

 And then a little peek behind to curtain of Leviathan.

Both Plas and Leviathan came from broken worlds and both had to take a step back and reassess their goals. And this world has to be changed. And Plas will ultimately decide the best way to change it is by joining Leviathan.

With that, Leviathan and the dead agent both disappear, teleported away in blue energy. (Maybe Leviathan and 'The Enforcer' are the same person?)

Finally, Batman reveals his hand. The entire group of detectives, even Manhunter, are all on the roof. They decide to actually accuse Jason of being Leviathan.

They pepper him with Questions. We learn the tech on the Leviathan goon was similar to WayneTech. It all seems to add up.

In perhaps the worst response, Jason runs. The chase is on.

Oooohhh ... how I love a mystery!

This was another dialogue heavy issue, interrupted only by the brief hospital scuffle and the chase on the last page. But who cares. The game is afoot! We have to see the clues laid out before we can put together a theory. And that means legwork first. Fisticuffs later.

I am loving this.

Now I promise I'll review the clues as they pertain to my theory soon. But this issue also made me ponder Martian Manhunter again as a suspect. And now, between the Freedom Fighter reference and the Ray armor, an Earth X theory could be percolating.

Great story. Inspired art.

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Another great review, thanks.

I may have to reread, does Plas actually know who Leviathan is? I know Levi says he knows him, but did I miss it dawning on old Eel?

The fact people get converted so quickly implies mind control at a massive level - J'onn? - but then, why reason with the likes of Babs and Plas? Hmm.

Great work on the colouring analysis!

Anj said...

This is why I need an editor.

Changed sentence to say 'Leviathan says Plastic Man knows him, or who he was before he donned the Leviathan mask.'

Yes, the swift change of allegiance does make me think a J'onn guess is more credible. Especially with the 'You know me ... from the Justice League.'

I need an editor.

Anonymous said...

At first I thought Leviathan said he knew Plastic Man from the Justice League. But then, turning the page and reading on, I decided he was simply rattling off the things he knew about Plastic Man, suggesting to Plastic Man that if he knows all of this about him, Plastic Man would know him too.

Leviathan might well have been in the JL, but I don't think he was directly stating that. After all, surely he wasn't saying that he was in all those other teams too.

Why is he so coy? Instead of saying "you know me," just say who you are! This is distracting.

I'm wondering what the ARGUS agent had in mind for General Lane. Attack him? Leviathan already had the chance, and left Lane alone. Why attack him now?

Bendis is writing recap pages for most of his books, but in a more creative way than the explicit, standardized Marvel page-one recaps, accompanied by actual artwork and lettering. I appreciate that he is doing this and wish DC did it more often.

I don't feel cheated, because Bendis is always getting more than 20 pages. Young Justice was 24 (laugh-out-loud funny) pages this month. Very few other titles are getting more than 20 pages, and not regularly.

Maleev is great. They are both in their wheelhouse.


Anj said...

I get your interpretation of that Justice League quote.

For me, I wonder if Leviathan realized he may have tipped his hand by saying they knew each other from the Justice League. And then, to recover, decided to go into Plastic Man's resume instead.

Of course, I am trying to validate a theory. So I may be looking for things that aren't there. Or believing purposeful feints by the writer.

As for the Lane attack, I wonder if he thought the heart attack might end him naturally only to then have him survive.

Anonymous said...

Your speculations are quite reasonable! Maybe we'll find out all of this eventually, but so much more is going to happen that we'll have new and intriguing things to speculate about.

There's a theory circulating on Twitter that Leviathan is (Dead?) Roy Harper. I don't know whether to take that as a serious suggestion.


Steve said...

The worst thing for Jason is that in the wake of losing Arsenal, Artemis, and Bizarro in his own book he has become more of a planner and considering the big picture more. That change in the MO around the time of the rise of Leviathan would be suspect. Damien's recent falling out with Jason in that awful Teen Titans book would color his perceptions. Then there's the fact that writers were always having Jason go full villain in between Winick writing him and he hasn't done that at all since He became Lobdell's baby. A writer could make a case for everyone except Alfred expecting him to snap again...

I don't buy your Leviathan theory totally because that would mean Ted Kord is emulating Maxwell Lord, the man who killed him. Yes, Kord was a complete asshole in the last Blue Beetle series regarding what Jamie's wants were but newly insensitive control freak doesn't equal going all Maxwell Lord...

My own theory is Superman centered because Bendis came up with Leviathan while constructing his Superman plans. He inherited a character who had just had his pre-Flashpoint status (plus Jon) reestablished as a bubble with Doctor Manhattan's warped timeline. Everyone touching Superman's life was affected by this but not those who weren't. What if someone in his sphere who had his life returned as regards to Superman returned but not his life with people who weren't decided enough was enough? For example, Oliver's son knew Clark. If he was restored but his father wasn't...

Rob S. said...

One thing I wonder about your theory: as a Charlton character, is the Question in on Leviathan? Bendis has been hinting that the investigators themselves are suspects. In this case, Batman relays two second-hand experiences in his conversation with Jason. Who's to say that the Question (or Plas, for that matter) relayed their accounts honestly? I think Bendis and Maleev are giving us some of this information in a subjective way for a reason.

William Ashley Vaughan said...

Leviathan's list of groups Plastic Man has joined bears closer consideration.
These teams are spread across the multiverse. Freedom Fighters (Earth X), All Star Squadron (Earth II/World War II), Secret Six (Tangent Universe). Leviathan is aware of every incarnation of Plastic Man since Jack Cole created him. We are looking for a suspect who has experience of the multiverse and was born into a broken world.

Anj said...

Great comments.
I'll have a separate post looking at the clues in a few days.

About the Question, the original theory was built out of the feel of Watchmen in much of the early encounters. As such, I thought the Question (Rorscach) investigating a crime that ultimately leads to a teammate fit that bill.

And once I settled on Ted, I knew it had to be one that at least experienced or saw Lord kill him. Since he saw one outcome of espionage groups gone wild (Checkmate), he'd want to stop them. All these other realities adds to that feel.

Great mystery. Love the other ideas!

Stan Etienne said...

The most interesting potential clue for me is the list of teams Plastic Man has been a member of according to Leviathan. But Elongated Man was in the Secret Six, not Plastic Man.

Now part of me would be tempted to put this down to bad research or lack of editorial guidance, but Plastic Man himself wants Leviathan to repeat the last team mentioned, which seems to indicate the mistake is the character’s, not the writer’s.

And seems to reinforce your idea that Leviathan is not from “this” Earth.

DanielT said...

It's not Martian Manhunter. He's firmly ensconced in the current JL storyline and him being the head of Leviathan would be a HUGE pivot from how he's being portrayed there.

William Ashley Vaughan said...

The Tangent Universe Plastic Man was in the Tangent Universe Secret Six. Google Tangent Universe Secret Six.

derekwc said...

So I was yucking it up about these issues with my podcast buddy tonight and telling him about your Ted theory.

Then we got to thinking, while sad, that actually makes TOO much sense for Bendis. He then went with the most horrible thing he could think of (yet something that would seem superficially plausible).

And I think it's horrible enough and superficial enough to be enacted. Ric Grayson is Leviathan. Not Dick, but Ric. He remembers enough of Spyral to want to crush all the other agencies. He remembers enough of Barbara to single her out. But he can still be twisted enough to carry out his current agenda, b/c he's Ric!

Anonymous said...

Then "we are Leviathan" could mean a team-up of brain-damaged Ric; dead Roy; and Wally, who is taking a side-trip from day 2 of his future, while he is on his way back in his infinite loop from day 0 to day 4, and while his day 4 version sits in jail.

Or maybe it's a crossover with DCeased.


Nutation said...

> The body of the Leviathan agent was scooped up by The Question so it could be examined for clues. Now it seems odd that Plastic Man gets that job, but he does.

Plastic Man on the list of "World's Greatest Detectives" is itself odd to me. I also wouldn't put Ollie on that list, but at least it's defensible. I wish Ralph Dibney were one of the crew, but he was ruined as a character as far back as Sue's murder.

In the current era, I would probably put Dick Grayson on that list, but using him is redundant with Batman. I might even include Lois. Happily, she is heavily involved in this story, just independently.

> Both Plas and Leviathan came from broken worlds and both had to take a step back and reassess their goals.

It's pretty meta, but could "broken worlds" be code for "deceased publisher"? That would fuel the Ted Kord theory. (Plastic Man was Quality.)

derekwc said...

Since Detective Chimp is notoriously absent from 'Team Detective', my joke guess is that Leviathan is really Detective Chimp! "Leave me out will you! Now I'm evil and taking ALL THE BANANNAS!!"

Anj said...

Thanks for all the great comments!

I doubt it’s J’onn, but some clues couple point there as a feint.

And thanks for thinking the theory is too plausible!

SimB said...

I'm loving your Leviathan posts Dr Anj!
Can't wait for your clue breakdown.
Keep up the fantastic work!