Even if you’re only casually aware of the DC Universe, either through the comics, the TV shows, or the movies, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve come across some sort of shadowy top secret organization at some point or another. Some of them are all about that dubiously ethical paramilitary science–think Supergirl’s ARGUS or Young Justice’s Cadmus. Others are fixated on murder, like the League of Assassins or Kobra. Some don’t fit in one niche or the other, like Checkmate or Spyral.
The point is: The DC Universe is filled to bursting with clandestine secret societies, and depending where you land in terms of your comic book consumption, they can get pretty confusing–even redundant–if you try and keep track of them all.
But not for long.
The legendary creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev are teaming up for the first time in the mainline DC Universe for a brand new event series called Event Leviathan, and it’s going to shake the secret societies of the DCU to their very core–but maybe not in the way you expect. Far from the macro-cosmic Crisis-level events DC is known for, Event Leviathan is going to be, in Bendis’s words, “more like [Agatha Christie’s mystery novel] And Then There Were None.”
At DC’s offices in Burbank, the writer sat down with journalists to talk about the new project, Maleev’s iconic artwork, and the potential repercussions for the DCU at large.
Bendis described the tone of the six-issue mini series as the opposite of a “disaster movie,” focusing entirely on a group of DC’s finest detectives, who, Bendis assures, will “solve a case every issue.” So don’t worry about too much wheel-spinning or time-wasting. These are characters on very specific missions.
The larger case–the inciting event that brings them all together–might be a little bit harder to crack, however. The setup, which can be found interwoven through both the ongoing Superman and Action Comics titles, revolves around the mysterious “Leviathan,” a masked supervillain of unknown identity and origin who is making “pitches” to various heroes around the DC Universe to try and bring them over to their side. Leviathan’s identity is a complete mystery–but it won’t be forever.
“[By the end of the story] Leviathan will have risen and what it is and what they’ve done will have landed,” Bendis said. “And so there are a lot of pieces that are going to shift and a lot of heroes are going to have a kind of a new purpose–like a new motivation, because the enemy will have revealed itself. He’s not selling villainy and he’s not selling antagonism. There’s heroes and there’s villains and then there’s this other thing right now. And that other thing isn’t playing by the rules dictated by the rules of the genre. That’s going to mess up a lot of people’s heads.”
Even Leviathan’s design was meant to evoke a specific reaction–both from readers and from the characters themselves.
“This is a character who’s dealing with a icons in psychology and with imagery, specifically. This is a character who is very aware of [pop culture characters like] Darth Vader and very aware of what images do for people and how they respond to them,” Bendis elaborated. “That [mask], it looks scary to some people and it looks not scary to other people. They designed it that way. There’s a psychology behind it, but, OK. There’s gonna be a lot of stuff in this that is going to reflect a more modern sensibility than you may have seen in [classic espionage and spy stories of] the past, where people are wearing the white carnation or sliding an envelope across the table.”
Bendis went on to tease some of the key players in the upcoming event, specifically highlighting the starring role of Lois Lane, who Bendis calls “the most dangerous woman in the DC Universe,” thanks to her unfiltered access to the Daily Planet’s publishing platform and ability to literally control the flow of information. Alongside Lois will be some of DC’s most brilliant detectives–Batman, Plastic Man, The Question, and so on–all working to crack the case: Who is Leviathan, what do they want, and most importantly, how can it be stopped?
Event Leviathan #1 (of 6) hits shelves June 12 everywhere comics are sold.