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Brian Michael Bendis Interview: Event Leviathan

Brian Michael Bendis' recent journey into DC Comics has already brought many changes to Superman's life, but it's the upcoming miniseries Event Leviathan that will be rewriting the game for the world of superheroes by putting every secret agency from ARGUS to Checkmate at risk of extinction. While the grand-scale event does kick off its first of six issues until June 12th, Bendis has already been planting seeds in the last few issues of Action Comics - and those seeds begin to grow in the 25-cent DC's Year of the Villain one-shot, out this Wednesday.

The 8-page story in DC's Year of the Villain acts as the perfect appetizer for the full meal, showcasing Barbara Gordon as she's approached by the mysterious Leviathan themselves about the new world order and how she can be a part of it. When asked what made Batgirl specifically so attractive to the shadowy organization, Bendis hinted that she's not the only one to get this treatment. "There's going to be a quite a few - and I really love this about them, this is not a negative - that they journey through the DC universe and have different roles." He explained her position further, saying, "She's had different status quos, and a character that's had different status quos for Leviathan would seem like an easy target. Like 'you want what I want, and you're not getting it doing what you're doing. Come on board.'"

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So while that makes Barbara the first potential suspect to be working with Leviathan, she's not the only one introduced in the 25-cent comic. Nor is she alone among the pool of possible traitors, one of whom may be the mastermind themselves, who crop up starting in Event Leviathan #1. "We have a story where almost everyone in DC is a suspect. It could be anybody," Bendis teased. "And so the greatest detectives have to come together and solve that case before the morning, because in the morning, something else is going to happen."

DC's Year of the Villain also marks the start of the collaboration with artist Alex Maleev for this specific project, and the interplay between the story and artwork in both it and Event Leviathan #1 make it clear just how in sync the two are as creators. "I just leaned into of his strengths, and then on top of that [we] tried to push each other into areas we would not go ourselves," he explained, emphasizing how the detective noir aspect of the series was tailored specifically for Maleev. "He's just been waiting around for Batman again. I knew whatever story we would tell, I would make sure that this was focused on his talent and his worldview. And, boy, he brought it."

Batman makes his presence known in Event Leviathan #1, but he's also not the only detective trying to solve the ongoing crisis. Lois Lane and Steve Trevor both have crucial roles to play as investigators, while simultaneously casting enough doubt to make them possible culprits. The author called Lois "the most dangerous woman in the world," and not because of her marriage to Superman. Rather it's the combination of "where she grew up, who her father is" and the fact that "she has access to the publish button and one of the biggest media services in the world." She's certainly powerful enough to stand up to Leviathan, but is she brazen enough to craft a new world order on her own?

Trevor, meanwhile, may not seem like much of a threat on his own given his history as Wonder Woman's sweetheart - but his work with ARGUS has made him fast on his feet. Not only does Event Leviathan #1 contain a great bit where he reveals how much work his agency has put into essentially out-thinking Batman, but as Bendis claimed, "He's done nothing but make himself more of a suspect. If nothing, he's certainly in a terrible place because someone's got to pay the check. Someone's going to have to get in front of Congress and get their ass kicked."

Other big players in the story include Plastic Man, Manhunter, and the Question. Bendis hinted that the latter has a big role especially, which readers have been excited for thanks to his brief but iconic appearances in his run so far. "All I'll say right now is that we're setting it up so that Greg Rucka can write the character, which is what everybody wants," he added.

Bendis also previewed the 80-page Superman: Leviathan Rising Special, coming out May 29th, with art by Yannick Paquette and more. The big prelude to Event Leviathan will include "a giant move by Leviathan itself and Talia," as well as a chapter by Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins introducing the new Lois Lane series. But Bendis saved one of his favorite previews for last: "What I'm really excited about is Matt Fraction coming on to do Jimmy Olsen with Steve Lieber." Not only did he promise that "it's Hawkeye good," he also professed a deep appreciation for the character of Jimmy Olsen in general. "I think he's an amazing photographer. I don't think he's a joke, I think he's a genius. And that's why they put up with his nonsense." Together with Lois, he makes up "Superman's work family. And I love them."

Fans can witness all the various pieces of Leviathan's arc come together on June 12th, when DC Comics' greatest minds team up stop the world as they know it from quietly imploding from the shadows. The journey, though, has already begun with Action Comics #1007 and continues in DC's Year of the Villain this Wednesday - so there's plenty of pieces to put together while trying to figure out just who Leviathan is. Rest assured, though, that Bendis promised all questions would be answered. "By the end of this you'll find out who Leviathan is, what they've done, [and] why they've done what they've done."

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