With the announcement last week by Brian Michael Bendis that he and Alex Maleev are working on an upcoming DC event dubbed Leviathan, the writer confirmed the meaning behind several hints planted in his Action Comics run.
Bendis said last week that the Leviathan event will be ”monumental to the DC Universe.” Let’s take a look at what hints have been shared so far.
It all started when the first page of Action Comics #1003 included several Easter eggs, one of which seemed to tease plans for a “Leviathan” event. The page was the latest close-up of a Daily Planet staffer’s desk, but among all the clutter was a piece of paper titled, “Leviathan…A DC Comics Mystery Event.”
The page said the event will kick off in Action Comics #1007 (out this week), that it would be drawn by Maleev and it mentioned not only Clark and Lois, but also Jimmy Olsen, as they discover a secret about the Leviathan organization.
The bottom of the page said, “Who watches the Watchmen?,” a statement that either indicates a tie-in to Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s current Doomsday Clock limited series, or a more metaphorical theme of the Leviathan event related to superheroes having too much power.
The week the issue was released, Bendis told Newsarama: “Yeah, there’s a couple things that Dan DiDio has pointed at and said, hey, what do you think of that? And one of those ideas is actually going to be my second arc of Action Comics. It’s something we were cooking with Checkmate, Spyral and Leviathan. So we’ll be dealing with that going into the first year as well.”
It wasn’t clear if the tease from Action Comics #1003 was accurate (since some other hints dropped on desktops have been less reliable), but the announcement by Bendis last week confirms that the Leviathan event is coming.
Leviathan is a criminal organization that was introduced by Grant Morrison during his lengthy Batman run, culminating in Batman Inc. It was headed by Talia Al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul and mother of Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian Wayne. At the end of Morrison’s Leviathan story, Talia was dead - but the organization has shown up in other stories since.
As for Action Comics itself, there’s a criminal organization in the current storyline that is known as the “The Invisible Mafia.” But although Bendis had been teasing that the head of the organization was a woman, in Action Comics #1006, her identity was revealed to be someone who calls herself Leone.
She’s not Talia Al Ghul.
Not much is known about this new villain, but she’s allied herself with Robinson Goode, a reporter at The Daily Planet who’s also been able to somewhat successfully tangle with Superman lately as the superpowers villain, “Red Cloud.”
Leone also provided the cliffhanger for Action Comics #1006: She has purchased The Daily Planet.
With Action Comics concentrating on the investigative reporter side of Superman and his cast, that’s a pretty big bomb to drop on the series.
It also shows just how powerful Leone and the Invisible Mafia are.
The Question made a brief cameo in a recent issue of Action Comics and Bendis told Newsarama he plays a much bigger role coming up. The trenchcoat-wearing, street level hero being involved in a story about spy organizations would make sense.
And even though the Invisible Mafia’s mastermind didn’t turn out to be Talia, Action Comics #1006 did drop the villain’s name.
Jimmy Olsen was talking to Clark Kent in the newsroom during Action Comics #1006 and he mentioned Talia Al Ghul during some small talk they were having. Bendis wouldn’t put her name in here without a reason, so it’s still very likely she’s coming back for this story arc.
It’s also important to remember that Bendis told Newsarama there were several spy organizations involved in his next story arc. So not only will the writer be exploring Leviathan, but indicated DC organizations like Spyral and Checkmate were involved.
That jibes with Bendis hinting that the entire DCU will be involved, as those organizations are associated with characters like Batman, Nightwing, Midnighter, Huntress, Count Vertigo, Max Lord ,and more.
The solicitation for Action Comics #1007 also mentions the Kobra Kult, and Action Comics #1008's calls out the D.E.O., two other clandestine DC organizations, as well as teasing the involvement of Amanda Waller of the Suicide Squad.
The descriptions for Action Comics #1009 and #1010 seem to spell out the premise: Several clandestine groups are taken out, and Clark and Lois go undercover (with Amanda Waller’s help, apparently) to figure out who’s behind it all. “Is it the rise of a new power in the DCU called Leviathan?”
So Leviathan appears to be taking out the competition, but why? What characters (and other titles) will be affected by this? And is Talia behind it all, or does Bendis have a surprise villain behind the curtain?
We'll begin to find out more in this week's Action Comics #1007, the beginning of the "Leviathan Rising" arc.