Spoilers ahead for Event Leviathan #4.
Event Leviathan #4, the latest issue in Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev's superhero spy thriller, just revealed that - spoilers! - there’s a second team of detectives working with Lois Lane to investigate the mysterious Leviathan.
And of course, it includes one of the best detectives in the DCU: Ralph Dibny.
The secret second team, who showed up on the final page of Event Leviathan #4, is made up of Ralph Dibny, John Constantine, Detective Harvey Bullock, Zatanna, Renee Montoya/the Question, and someone wearing a Deathstroke costume.
(Spoilers for the Deathstroke series: Slade Wilson was recently killed, but in the last issue of the series, an alternate version of Slade showed up in costume. However, his daughter Rose has also been wearing the Deathstroke costume lately. So…who’s this?)
Event Leviathan has been featuring a team of detectives team that includes Plastic Man, Batman, Manhunter, Green Arrow, Vic Sage/The Question, and Damian Wayne. They’re investigating the mysterious new Leviathan character, whose organization has wiped out all other intelligence groups in the DCU and is establishing a new world order.
With the return of Superman to their team last issue, the detectives are no closer to finding out the identity of the mysterious Leviathan or learning his organization’s plan.
In Event Leviathan #4, readers not only learned about Lois’ secret second team, but they also found out that Batgirl (who’d been recruited by Leviathan) is actually working undercover from within the organization. She reached out to Superman and Batman’s team in this week’s issue, although her transmission was interrupted.
The issue also featured a failure by Superman to battle Leviathan and an appearance by Silencer, the woman known as Honor Guest who starred in her own series during DC’s 2018 “New Age of DC Heroes.” During the Silencer series, Honor was forced to return to her life as a spy and assassin after previously retiring from Leviathan (or at least, the old Leviathan).
Newsarama talked to Bendis to find out more about the second team, the surprising appearances from characters like Ralph Dibny and Silencer, and what readers can expect next from Event Leviathan.
Newsarama: Brian, at the end of Event Leviathan #4, readers find out that there’s another group of detectives trying to crack the secret of Leviathan. All this time, Lois the journalist had a secret team working on things behind the scenes?
Brian Michael Bendis: I thought you’d like that. The journalist is working harder than everybody else.
Nrama: I think there are a lot of DC fans who will be happy to see Ralph Dibny on the team.
Bendis: Yes, I’m so glad people will finally see that Ralph is part of the story. People online kept saying, “Bendis, on a team of detectives, where’s Ralph?” - I wanted to say, just be patient. He’s coming.
Nrama: OK, Ralph does make sense. But can you explain why the other people on the team are here? I mean … Bullock?
Bendis: Well, it is the last page of the issue! We’ll get there. You’ll find out why Bullock’s there, and why other people are there.
And Bullock’s not there just because Alex draws an amazing Bullock. That’s not the reason. It just so happens that he does.
But I will say that Lois realizes that if magic involved, the other team isn’t equipped to address that.
Nrama: OK, that explains Zatanna and John Constantine, but is that Deathstroke? With what’s been happening in the solo Deathstroke series, it’s not clear … is that Slade Wilson?
Bendis: No, you’ll find out who it is.
Nrama: And then the character on the right is Renee Montoya, right? The other Question.
Nrama: She was just recently re-introduced in Greg Rucka’s Lois Lane series. You ran this past Greg?
Bendis: Oh yeah! Greg and I got together to discuss this and to, like, dive in to deeper stuff. We just feel like we have a unique opportunity, because we live so close and love each other so much, and have been through so much together - like, real life-and-death stuff - that we may be able to do something here that others might not be in the position to do yet.
So we’re coming in, big and strong, and that includes, yeah, seeing the Question show up in books and adding to that thread.
If you’re reading both [Event Leviathan and Lois Lane], you’ll get a bigger reward.
The Question, specifically, going back to even my years at Marvel - I wrapped my head around the Question as Greg Rucka. Like, Greg Rucka is the Question to me. Greg Rucka’s a very important person in my life, and so every time I write that character, I’m writing the very essence of Greg.
And then Renee is, like, this other side of the character. It’s all writing Greg’s world to me.
Nrama: The team on this final page is a really unusual mix, Brian. But they do look like they’d be tough, and really smart.
Bendis: Yes! What I loved about this group, and I wrote it in the script, and Alex did it perfectly - I said, when you turn the page and you see them, you immediately can see all four issues of a whole ‘nother series about them. Like, you’re thinking, oh, there’s a whole ‘nother story that happened with these people - one that we could have followed and been as equally entertained.
Nrama: Let’s talk about the Batgirl scene in Event Leviathan #4. Is this a verification that she is working undercover? Or maybe … is this a Leviathan trick?
Bendis: You said it perfectly! Maybe. Exactly true.
But I will say, in this instance - I’ll reveal - Batgirl is telling the truth. Or what she’s saying, she knows to be true.
Nrama: Thank you for that confirmation.
Bendis: Yeah, there’s enough mystery here.
Nrama: So the team has someone on the inside.
Bendis: Yeah, yeah, this is a break in the case.
Nrama: Batgirl says a few things at the end of the communication, and she’s breaking up. Are those clues?
Bendis: Yes, 100%. I literally wrote what she said out, and then I broke it up.
Nrama: Wow, and looking at it, I have no idea…
Bendis: Yeah, literally, it’s one of those annoying things where she said the most important thing in the whole mystery - not who Leviathan is, but something important about what they’re doing.
Nrama: And then this place where Superman and Plastic Man have arrived … it might be Seattle, but maybe not … and they’re looking down, right? At some type of explosion?
Bendis: Yeah, it erupts and something happens. You’re going to find out next issue where they are and what happened.
Nrama: They were honing in on Batgirl’s signal. But it’s a city, right?
Bendis: Yeah, the city explodes. Did Leviathan blow themselves up? Has there been another teleportation of some sort? All of these things, we’ll find out very, very soon.
I will say that there’s only a 30% chance that Superman died there.
Nrama: [Laughs] Well, yeah, if you could pick two DC characters who are going to survive a huge explosion, it’s probably going to be those two.
Bendis: [Laughs] I don’t want to take away the mystery, but there’s a very good chance Superman survived this.
Nrama: That’s good to know. And since we’re talking about Superman - the beginning of Event Leviathan #4 makes it clear that Superman absolutely cannot deal with the technology that Leviathan is using. I mean, Superman can usually see through this stuff… it’s a very unusual scene, how they handle him.
Bendis: This is one of our favorite things about it. The rules are changing. Leviathan has technologies and a mindset that is different from other antagonists. So although this will be an antagonistic relationship, his refusal to fight Superman - because if you’re fighting Superman, you’re the bad guy - his refusal to fight Superman is a very unique thing.
And what he’s proposing, which we’ll get into next issue, is … “hey Superman, go away, come back, and when we have fixed it, you can protect us.”
It’s like, “this is broken, and you know it’s broken. You’re telling me you know it’s broken. Go fly around for six months, come back, and whatever we have here, protect it with your life. And I bet it’s something worth protecting more than what you’re doing now.”
So that’s a pretty hardcore stance to take.
Nrama: This issue also features the Silencer. This is Honor Guest, right?
Bendis: Yep, that’s Silencer.
Nrama: And you’ve probably been hearing from people online saying that you should have Silencer in this story - that you’re ignoring her.
Bendis: Mostly, people were annoying me about Ralph. So I’m happy that I get to show that we have that under control.
I’m very excited, because I think Silencer is - it is something people have asked for, but what they said was, “Well, there’s no way in hell Silencer is going to be in this, is there?” That’s how they ask, right?
Bendis: So I’ve been in situations like this before. I’m so happy for people to see her, and to see where she is, and to help - you know, when I walked in at DC, “New Age of DCHeroes” was up and running. And so I was, like, really intensely reading those books. And I’m working with most of those artists on something. So I was studying them, and quite a few of them are quite excellent and didn’t get a fair shake.
I think Silencer, being at the top of that pile, is a character that should move on and be a very important player, if other writers want to make that happen.
So this is definitely my statement, in that she’s a very excellent new character that deserves a lot more attention, and we’re going to give it to her.
Nrama: Well, it makes sense because she she’s so connected to Leviathan.
Bendis: Yes, 100%. And for people who’ve been reading the Silencer book, it would seem false for her not to be somewhere in this. It would make no sense.
Nrama: Honor’s talking to someone in this issue. Is she talking to Talia Al Ghul?
Bendis: That’s a very, very good choice. We will find out this series, but that is a very good choice. Very good suspect.
Nrama: Well, Honor was looking for Bruce Wayne, so…
Nrama: But she was surprised about what she found.
Bendis: Yeah, yeah. But I like that the investigators are being investigated by investigators. This is where we are in the second act.
Nrama: It’s interesting, even though Lois is meeting with a secret second team, she took a car that has a tracking device in it. Boy, they all trust Lois a lot more than I do…
Bendis: Well, it’s hilarious. You’re going to laugh, because of all the things on this book - and there’s maybe, like, 200 important, researched things — the only thing that Alex got in my face about was the car. I was like, oh, Bruce would definitely have this $3.2 million blah blah blah car, and Alex started yelling at me about that. “It’s not what Bruce Wayne would have.”
And so, Alex picked the car.
Nrama: Good for him. And did Alex design the page where Superman is speeding toward Leviathan — that two-page spread where the captions sort of turn, to portray Superman’s effort?
Bendis: Yes. I wrote what the page needed to be — like, how it needed to feel. And he did it perfectly, and never in the way that I thought he was going too.
Every comic book does this, but there are a lot of people discovering Alex’s work for the first time in Event Leviathan. And that has been really exciting, because he’s one of my creative life partners, and we’re so proud of everything we’ve done.
And for people to experience him as such a fresh voice to them is really, really great. I’m really, really excited that people love him so much.
Nrama: So… can you point us toward any clues in this issue?
Bendis: There are clues on almost every page of issue #4
Nrama: So I should look up all those Plastic Man villains?
Bendis: [Laughs] No! No! You’ve got a lot going on in your life - no, you should not be doing that. But I know nothing will stop you.
Nrama: I’m sure you’ve seen people talking about every little clue from these issues.
Bendis: Oh yeah. And they can really have fun with it now. We’re really getting to it. We’re really getting to the end. Things are flying now.
I have deeply enjoyed the conversations that are online, and the guesses that are going. A lot of those guesses are actually going to be full-on acknowledged in the next issue as well.
So if you’ve been guessing loud in my Twitter feed, you’re going to be addressed soon.
Nrama: To finish up, is there anything else you want to tell people about what’s coming up? I know we’ll find out why these characters are part of this other detective team…
Bendis: Yeah, yeah. That question will be answered, and more importantly, you’ll find out what they discovered.
Nrama: Ah, yes. Zatanna says on the last page that Lois isn’t going to like it. But they have discovered something, right?
Bendis: They’ve got something. They’ve got something big. And we’re going to get right to it.
Nrama: If Lois isn’t going to like it … is it about Superman?
Bendis: Or … her father.
Nrama: Ah ha!
Bendis: Remember, her father is one of the great spy-masters of the DC Universe. And because of that, her brain just works differently and she knows things that other people don’t. So we’re going to get into it!