Review: Superman: Action Comics Vol. 3: Leviathan Hunt hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

If you like what Brian Michael Bendis is doing with Superman (and/or Event Leviathan) then you probably won't mind Superman: Action Comics Vol. 3: Leviathan Hunt's quirks too much; ditto perhaps if you were a fan of the Triangle Title's "large cast" approach. The flip side is that for a five-issue trade, Superman only appears on about nine of the first 50 pages (or two issues), which may not be to everyone's liking.

[Review contains spoilers]

Largely this volume (and seemingly the next) are about tying together the criminal element Bendis has been introducing in Action with his Event Leviathan crew, and that together with the ongoing "Year of the Villain" event. If one believes the stories of writers' competing fiefdoms across the DC Universe, this is undoubtedly a positive sign, Bendis weaving Scott Snyder's Justice League et al. into the very fabric of his Action Comics work.

Also this is one of those volumes that's a continuity wonk's dream, indeed intersecting "Year of the Villain" and Event Leviathan and also, via the Daily Planet "Chirp" feed that appears in every chapter, setting all of this contemporaneously with Batman: City of Bane, the latest Suicide Squad title, and the Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen miniseries, not to mention when Superman darts in and out to handle events in the Superman title proper.

Which, in fairness to all sides, is not to say this book is in any way essential Event Leviathan reading. While Leviathan Hunt does take place between the pages of Event, it can't particularly do anything even with Superman's pursuit of Leviathan because all of that is in the other book. Leviathan does appear, but it's to interact with "Queenpin" Leone and others, nothing to do with anything that happens in the miniseries. I'll eat it all up, don't get me wrong, but barely does this transcend what you'd otherwise expect from the regular series tie-in to an exterior event.

Given also Bendis' Wonder Comics' Naomi and Wonder Twins here, a more cynical assessment of the book might call this "The Brian Michael Bendis-verse in Action Comics, featuring Superman," if you weren't already a sucker for that kind of thing. It is notable that Naomi meets the Wonder Twins here (an acquaintance that will continue in, you guessed it, Bendis' Young Justice title), not to mention Superman and Batman, and Bendis continues to write fun Superman/Batman interactions as they acclimate Naomi to the superhero life. I have not liked Szymon Kudranski's dark, blocky art in everything I've read, but I thought he did well depicting both the grimy Metropolis underground and Naomi's bright adventures.

I appreciate Bendis' use of Rose and the Thorn here, which I'd like to believe is in homage to Roger Stern's Action Comics use of the characters in the Triangle Titles era and not, as is probably the case, a callback to their longer DC history. If one is inclined to get worked up about it, what's suggested here is mildly shocking, that Superman and the Metropolis police condone Thorn apparently using lethal force on criminals so that they themselves don't have to get their hands dirty. This is one of those "can't possibly be the case" kind of things; I think in the scene where Thorn is using a gun and Superman blithely tells here not to, we're supposed to understand that both Superman and Thorn knew the Leviathan goons wore bulletproof armor ahead of time, but I'm not sure Bendis writes this clearly enough that people couldn't misunderstand if they wanted to.

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Superman: Action Comics Vol. 3: Leviathan Hunt

Otherwise, that's largely it for Superman: Action Comics Vol. 3: Leviathan Hunt. Again, what I want is a big-cast Superman comic that moves the people of Metropolis in and out of his life, so if Brian Michael Bendis wants to focus on Leone and Robinson Goode and Trish Q and the various machinations they cause going from Lex Luthor to Perry White and on, that's fine with me. The plate does begin to fill up — now we've also got STAR Labs' Dr. Glory and whatever's going on over there, not to mention it's been a while since we've seen Deputy Fire Chief Melody Moore — but I'm pleased to see the Super-titles with a lot going on and positioned firmly at the crossroads of the DCU.

[Includes original and variant covers, script pages]

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Superman: Action Comics Vol. 3: Leviathan Hunt
Author Rating
4 (scale of 1 to 5)


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