Spoilers ahead for this week's Event Leviathan #3.
This week's installment of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev's DC event Event Leviathan offers another clue about the identity of the mysterious Leviathan.
According to Amanda Waller, Leviathan is a “con artist.” They designed their helmet to both instill fear and a sense of leadership.
There was also a mention of the “Janus Initiative,” and Red Hood dropped a cryptic hint about Sam Lane … or maybe a hint about fathers in general? It’s not clear if these were clues about the identity of Leviathan, but it might be worth considering characters who appeared in DC’s 1989 “Janus Directive” event or those who have significant daddy issues.
These clues are now added to the growing list of information that Bendis has offered during the event and its prequels in his Superman titles. Working with his frequent collaborator Alex Maleev, Bendis is telling the story of Event Leviathan through the eyes of a team of DC detectives who are investigating the mystery together.
During this week’s issue, the team of detectives confronted (and lost a battle with) Red Hood/Jason Todd, who was previously a leading suspect. Readers found out that Red Hood seems to at least understand the motivations of Leviathan, although it doesn’t seem like he’s Leviathan himself.
Some interesting clues were exposed during a conversation that Leviathan had with Plastic Man in Event Leviathan #2.
Leviathan said that Plastic Man knew them, insinuating that they were both in the Justice League (although not exactly saying that). The mysterious character proves once again that he really does know the people behind the heroes’ masks, calling Plastic Man by his name, “Patrick.” (Previously, Leviathan called Batgirl by the name Barbara — and they apparently knew the home address of Green Arrow.)
Leviathan seemed personable. They laughed at one of Plastic Man’s jokes. And we’ve learned in the past that they is protective of the costumed superheroes’ lives.
And the first issue of Event Leviathan showed that, although Leviathan destroyed almost all the spy organizations of the DCU, they is apparently recruiting people from those entities to come work with him at Leviathan.
Leviathan Knows Other Worlds
In issue #2, Leviathan also seemed to know about events from other timelines and universes, naming Plastic Man’s variety of teams from past continuities — and even mentioning the Secret Six, in which Plastic Man was only a member during DC’s alternate-universe imprint Tangent Comics.
Leviathan also mentioned that the two of them were both from a “broken world.” Because Plastic Man originated with Quality Comics, this seems to point toward characters who originated outside DC, whose worlds don’t exist anymore. And Leviathan knows it.
Leviathan Knows Tech
The armor worn by the Leviathan soldiers resembles Batman’s designs, which implies that the organization has money and high tech.
However, Batman called the technology used in the attacks something he had “not seen before — an energy signature not in my catalog” and “otherworldly.”
There’s also a blue-colored energy signature used by Leviathan in the attacks that readers have seen so far.
Readers and pundits have pointed out a few leading suspects, which we’ll list here, with the reasoning behind their inclusion on the list.
This theory emerges from the Leviathan’s signature blue energy, which seems to have a power that rivals the blue energy from Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan.
Of course, die-hard comic book fans know that Watchmen characters are based on characters that originated in Charlton Comics but were later incorporated into the DCU. Characters like Peacemaker, Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, and Nightshade could explain the reference to a “broken world,” and many of them have been associated with DC government and spy agencies in the past.
Blue Beetle would have the jovial disposition and the high-tech know-how, Captain Atom might have the energy needed to complete the bigger Leviathan tasks, and the Peacemaker might help out with enforcement.
And several Charlton Comics characters were part of DC’s “Janus Directive” storyline.
The Question is also a Charlton character, and his presence in Event Leviathan would be explained by the Charlton focus. In this scenario, maybe the Question is a mole in the midst of the team of detectives, or perhaps he’s investigating and exposing his former teammates’ actions, much like Rorschach did in Watchmen.
The problem with this theory: Captain Atom was just defeated in an issue of Batman. And Blue Beetle had a significant role in Heroes in Crisis. And why would their tech be considered “otherworldly” by Batman, who has worked with them extensively?
Of course, the Leviathan character and his helpers could be the Charlton characters from Earth-4, the world from Grant Morrison’s Multiversity where the Charlton characters were still untouched by the DCU. That would explain the “otherworldly” technology. But how would Leviathan know so much about this world’s DC heroes?
Justice League International characters:
OK, there’s some overlap here with the Charlton characters, so the above ideas apply. But the key to this JLI-focused theory was a Tweet by artist Alex Maleev, who confirmed that his cover for Event Leviathan #2 homaged Kevin Maguire’s cover of Justice League #1.
Specifically, when it was pointed out that he draw the Event Leviathan characters in a pose similar to Maguire’s now famous cover, Maleev said it was “no coincidence.”
Leviathan specifically mentioned the Justice League when they was talking to Plastic Man. And if all the JLI characters are on board, the telepathy of Martian Manhunter would also help with recruitment, since he could forcibly turn people like Batgirl into team members (or maybe Max Lord has reared his ugly head again?).
The problem with this theory: Again, JLI characters like Beetle, Booster, Mr. Miracle, Captain Atom — they’ve all been busy elsewhere in the DCU. And Martian Manhunter has been playing an important role in the current Justice League title while also being featured in his own DC maxi-series.
If the words “con artist” are to be taken literally, then there’s a new possibility: Could Bendis want readers to guess that Leviathan is actually the Wildstorm character Grifter?
He’s probably the best known “con artist” in the DCU, and Leviathan’s costume matches the color scheme worn by Grifter. The gritty hero is also from a “broken” world, and because of his history with Team 7 in the DCU, he would be knowledgeable about DC characters.
He’s a powerful character on his own, and his alliances might have provided other superpowers readers have seen.
The problem with this theory: It’s doubtful Grifter would know the DC heroes by their real names and be friendly with them. And wouldn’t this kind of come out of left field?
One of the Detectives
It’s been pointed out so often in Bendis’ story that one of the detectives on the team might secretly be Leviathan that … one of them probably is.
The leading candidates right now, in our estimation, are Lois Lane, Green Arrow, and the Question.
The motivation for the Question is outlined above. He’s from a “broken world,” he’s got Charlton friends with high tech, and as this week’s issue points out, “Who was the Question?” This version of the character seems to have suddenly shown up, and really … if anyone could be “conning” the heroes, it’s this guy with a faceless mask.
Green Arrow is probably the easiest character to suspect. He’s got that high-tech thing down, with those fancy arrows of his, and he’s got a reason to despise the old guard because of the death of his beloved Roy Harper in Heroes in Crisis (oops, spoiler alert). There’s also that “League-stopping” box he got from the Martian Manhunter last year, which could have contained this type of technology.
Lois Lane is a much more tricky idea. She currently has a solo maxi-series, and she doesn’t have the superpowers to support some of Leviathan’s activities, so she’s a pretty unlikely suspect. However, there’s that nagging time Bendis wrote her traveling from space to Earth without telling her husband she was home. Could she have gained some type of superpowers, allegiances, or less-than-noble motivations when she was in space? And just what was she hiding in her secret apartment that she didn’t want Superman to know about?
This week’s issue doesn’t solve the mystery of Leviathan’s identity, and no matter how much we throw around ideas, other suspects seem to emerge. But the additional clues in Event Leviathan #3 — and the apparent elimination of Red Hood as a suspect — might bring the main characters a little closer to the solution.
Event Leviathan #4 (of 6) is due out September 11.