Leviathan Dawn #1 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Alex Maleev, Artist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Event Leviathan series, thinking it suffered from odd pacing, too much of the action happening off-screen, and the villain reveal coming out of nowhere. But now that Mark Shaw has been unmasked as the mysterious Leviathan, Leviathan Dawn #1, a prequel issue to the next chapter, hits the right notes as the opening chapter to a spy-themed event.
Steve Trevor has been locked up under suspicion of being Leviathan since the attacks, and as the issue opens he’s rescued from captivity by a mysterious new spy only known as Kingsley Jacobs. I’ve looked up this character and I don’t find any history of them, so I’m thinking they’re probably a new version of King Faraday or inspired by them. From there, the two old hands at spycraft begin a recruitment issue around the DCU, as Mark Shaw escalates his war against the social order. Shaw is positioning himself as a champion of the underdog, but he seems far too much of a megalomaniac for that to be believable. Like most villains.
Leviathan Dawn #1 is mostly the characters building their team, as we see what most of the players from the last mini and the survivors of the attacks have been up to. Director Bones, who barely survived the destruction of the DEO, has been locked up in Arkham. Green Arrow and Question are doing some freelance hunting of Leviathan agents. Manhunter and Robin have been working together (with Bendies once again writing a more well-adjusted Damian than the average).
Talia was dropped off in prison by Superman, where she’s been terrorizing the guards. Lois has been continuing to investigate the case and dealing with the fallout from Superman’s identity reveal. Together, they unite under a new banner – that of Checkmate, the secret DC spy organization – just as Manhunter once again escalates his plans by taking over an iconic DC location in a stunning coup. The first miniseries felt like a slow-burn detective story that didn’t quite click given the stakes. This one feels like a high-octane spy thriller, and it’s off to a strong start.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.