Superman: Action Comics: Leviathan Hunt by Brian Michael Bendis

details
Title: Superman: Action Comics.
Volume: 3.
Story-Arc: Leviathan Hunt.
Writer(s): Brian Michael Bendis.
Artist(s): Szymon Kudranski.
Colourist(s): Brad Anderson.
Letterer(s): Dave Sharpe, Josh Reed & Rob Leigh.
Publisher: DC Comics.

Format
:
Hardcover.
Release Date: May 12th, 2020.
Pages: 128.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781779500175.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.

thoughts

Creator Brian Michael Bendis is far from done infusing his own surge of creativity into the DC universe. Ever since his debut with DC after jumping ships and letting go of Marvel, he has now implemented key characters, worlds, and stories, that all allow the DC universe to embark on a revitalizing new adventure filled with possibilities but also to escape inevitable status quo that is often noted by readers. With his Event Leviathan now unveiled, he can proceed to further explore various sub-plots that have been planted left and right into a fertile land of story-telling ever since the beginning of his DC career. The real question now is to see if he’ll be able to give all these stories the proper resolution to make them all worthwhile in the end.

What is Superman: Action Comics: Leviathan Hunt about? With Leviathan setting off a chain of events across the world by taking down secret intelligence agencies, Superman finds himself quite busy with the Invisible Mafia now resurfacing amidst all the chaos. It doesn’t help when their intangible enforcer known as Red Cloud is back at it again and ready more than ever to tussle with the Man of Steel once again. But Metropolis couldn’t be any more of a danger zone without the interference of Lex Luthor himself. Collecting Superman: Action Comics issues #1012-1016, this story arc returns back the spotlight onto the Invisible Mafia and the mysterious Red Cloud villain while additional threats enter the scene.

With the issues composing this story arc released during the “Year of the Villain” DC Comics event, it isn’t hard to realize a couple of flaws that transpired from this timing. The most notable problem that comes with this story arc is its structure. It’s simply all over the place. One second the story brings back Robinson Goode’s trials as a rookie journalist at the Daily Planet and Marisol Leone as the Queenpin of Metropolis through her dominion over the Invisible Mafia, and the next second the story teases the arrival of a brand-new devastating designer drug known as Apocalypse, the sudden implication of the split-personality vigilante Rose/Thorn who is somehow connected to the whole Leviathan event, the mysterious resurgence of Lex Luthor and his enigmatic plans, and, of course, the deus ex machina that is Naomi McDuffie. Let’s just say that Action Comics is now ACTION Comics.

“I guess it’s time to show everybody in Metropolis how big an empire we’ve built under them.”

— Brian Michael Bendis

While the story might be floating around a bit too much in this latest arc, struggling to really get some kind of footing, and making the main plot move forward much more efficiently, writer Brian Michael Bendis continues to display his marvelous grasp on Superman’s lore and the characters of his universe. From Lois Lane to Perry White, he delivers some of the most hilarious banters yet, especially when the volume in itself is almost exempt from Superman’s omnipresence and looks to focus on the supporting cast a lot more.

It is also interesting to see writer Brian Michael Bendis continue to incorporate his Wonder Comics characters into the DC universe, especially with Naomi this time around, although her role here, as previously mentioned, is a bit out of the blue. While it does wrap things up for what takes place after Naomi: Season One, her arrival really tossed things into the air, allowing no resolution for all the other sub-plots introduced, including the one where the Red Cloud’s origin story was supposed to be revealed.

For this story arc, artist Szymon Kudranski was kept from cover to cover, allowing the story to possess a darker, grittier, but much more intimate tone. Although Clark Kent, Superman, and Lois Lane’s facial design was disconcerting and not at all to my liking, the overall artistic vision that was prioritized was surprisingly stunning. From blur effects to colour contrasts that allow a certain focus on key characters, the artwork remained authentic and original. Colourist Brad Anderson also continues his phenomenal work as always as well and helps bring to life this story in ways that only images can.

It was also refreshing to indulge certain sequences where the panel structure was unconventional, allowing multiple narratives to take place at the same time (e.g. interviews with random citizens while Superman is in the middle of a devastating battle). Speaking of originality, writer Brian Michael Bendis brings another of his quirky touches to each individual issue by including a full-page pseudo-Twitter feed for the Daily Planet that offers insight on events inside the DC universe (e.g. events taking place in other heroes’ worlds) but also outside of it (e.g. brand-new stories released by fellow creative teams).

Superman: Action Comics: Leviathan Hunt is an entertaining yet cursory story-arc zipping through a myriad of sub-plots centered around villains in the heart of Metropolis.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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17 comments

  • Oh wow, didn’t know Kudranski got the whole issue to himself! I’ve beeing watching his career with interest, way to go, Szymon! 😀
    I see the comic is a mixed bag for you, Lashaan – but that it still managed to keep your goodwill, which is always a good sign. Looks to me Bendis is currently madly scrambling to get everything lined up – he is a completionist of sorts, so I guess it must be difficult for him to get all the threads in one place. I do wonder how it will all be wrapped up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha it’s so cool that you know of him! It’s the first time I’m running into him ever myself, but I’m glad to see him given a whole volume to showcase his own talents.

      If things keep up, he’ll be fumbling with too many strings to cleanly wrap things up. However, I’m still too curious about his saga at DC and what he plans to do, so I’ll probably continue until things really deescalate and end up consistently bad.

      Thanks for reading, Ola! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • So not bad but not great either? Well from my very shallow POV, the art is good so there is that LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  • Another great Bendis Superman review Lashaan! Again, I enjoyed this volume a little more than you did but I do agree with some of the points you make, points which I feel become a little more prominent in the next arc (if you thing this was ACTION comics, wait until volume 4!).

    I generally really like what Bendis is doing with Superman but it can become messy and all over the place as he tries to throw in so many other characters and groups of characters (naomi, young justice etc). I also thing the Invisible Mafia story needs to come to a head and some sort of at least semi-resolution as Leviathan seems to be an ongoing concern with the sequel mini-series looming for that. In the end, I think Bendis just needs to concentrate on Superman and a smaller, more immediate set of players and maintain some focus.

    I thought the art by Szymon Kudranski was decent but he does have the odd problem with facial expressions…nowhere near as good as what we’ve seen from Ivan Reis on the main Superman book and Steve Epting on the “Leviathan Rising” arc – but much superior to John Romita Jr who takes over after this volume!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Chris! I wish I was head over heels for Bendis’s stuff right now. I like that he’s ambitious but I feel like the execution suffers a bit for different reasons every time. But I’m still holding on. He’s not a bad writer right now at all and has some good ideas. You’re definitely right about the “a lot” quality of his stories right now. I mean, this one was almost without Superman entirely, and that’s pretty ballsy! Can’t wait to discuss about the upcoming controversial stuff.

      Dude. I thought I was the only one. When we see Superman and Lois together for the first time with Kudranski’s art, I was stunned. They didn’t LOOK like them at all… I’m not even sure what he tried to model them after.

      By the way, I forgot to ask, but in Even Leviathan, did you notice that there’s a panel where Superman’s chest logo disappears from one panel to the next? We just blue… I wonder if it’s a misprint or if they forgot to draw it…

      Oh no… You did mention in one of your reviews that Romita Jr. takes over at some point… I must’ve repressed that intel… I’m a bit scared of what I’m about to discover now hahaha

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, yep I did notice the disappearing Superman sigil in Event Leviathan! I give it a pass as there are so many Batman/Superman comics from past decades that I’ve read with the same issue.

        By the way (TANGENT warning), I take it you’ve heard about the release of the Snyder Cut for JL? Are you excited about that? I’m more curious now that the studio is actually going to put up $30 million for the effects etc to be completed but can’t help but feel it may be slightly redundant since Snyder’s version was intended as the first part of a story that won’t be completed and given that universe has been for the most part abandoned. Oh and what if everyone ends up hating it?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Fiouf. Thought it was just my copy that had a misprint!

          I’m actually glad that the fans voice was heard and that they actually went ahead to fulfill what will likely be his last true DC movie… I am with you as to all the backlash it might garner. The last thing we need is people saying “Now that we have the Snyder Cut, we can officially say his vision sucked” or something along those lines… At least for me (and probably you), it’s going to be fun to finally see all those scenes that had to be cut out/let go, especially in regards to Darkseid. As you’ve just mentioned, it’s going to be sad to know that we won’t get the second parter… At least Cavill seems to be coming back for more movies officially (at least there are talks!). That’s going to be interesting.

          I’ve, however, heard that Ezra Miller has been in some… hot water in the past months and putting his role as the Flash in jeopardy… I do wonder if the Flashpoint projet will still be a go and if it’ll be successful enough to reboot the universe and connect everything together (Reeve’s Batman, etc.)… Man… Exciting but scary times… Besides because of Covid!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah I heard all the hoopla over Ezra Miller, shame but seems as though he’s only shot himself in the foot. I did like his Flash though.

            I’d love Cavill to come back as Superman and I’m cautious to not get too excited as there have been ‘talks’ before so until it’s officially confirmed I’ll take it with a pinch of salt…but remain hopeful!

            Liked by 1 person

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