Action Comics #1019 is written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by John Romita Jr., inked by Klaus Janson, with colors from Brad Anderson, and letters by Dave Sharpe. ‘Metropolis Doom’ reaches its third act with this issue. Superman is down and his city has crumbled meaning the Legion of Doom is victorious. Leviathan, the man who took down the world’s intelligence agencies, is on their side and his sudden appearance in the last issue took the Man of Steel off guard.
Leviathan, Mark Shaw who was once the vigilante known as Manhunter, has been the subject of an intense investigation by the Daily Planet, Superman, and the Justice League. From his view, the world is need of a better form of justice, one much better than the League or law enforcement. The heroes of Earth wouldn’t accept his outlook, so Leviathan has taken his crusade to the Legion of Doom.
Part three of ‘Metropolis Doom’ presents backstory to inform the reader as to how Leviathan appears to have joined the side of evil. Lex Luthor is the main party interested in hearing what Leviathan is all about, with Sinestro, Brainiac, Gorilla Grodd and Cheetah acting as verbal antagonists. Overall, the meeting of Luthor and Leviathan makes for a laid back read. The dialogue is a fair display of questions and answers. Leviathan is grilled over his motives and actions. Shaw’s vision contrasts well against Luthor’s self-assured outlook. The issue lays out an interview of sorts as Leviathan shows the Legion what he has to offer. It also shows this man can stand toe-to-toe with Earth’s greatest villains, in word and action.
Since Leviathan has been such a major storyline for the Superman books, it’s high time the character had an encounter with Lex Luthor. As much as Leviathan studied, and dodged Superman over the years, it makes sense he should have scrutinized Luthor as well. Time will tell how much he knows about him and the Legion. Also, whether or not his alliance with them is genuine, or merely a ruse. Superman’s greatest foes are in one book, together, destroying everything he cares about.
Bendis makes Leviathan a crusader figure who forms a complicated trinity with Superman and Luthor. For years, Superman’s world has been the power play between himself and Luthor, with no other characters capable of truly having staying power to rival either man. Enter Leviathan, a character based around obfuscation and misdirection. Now that he stands revealed, he remains as enigmatic as ever. Bendis is able to bring together his narrative here while offering a few surprises all while keeping Leviathan’s true motivation tucked away.
Romita and Janson deliver solid work in the art department. Leviathan appears broader here, closer in look to a New Gods character, which allows him to stand out among the Legion members. Romita knows how to sketch each panel in a specific region while leaving the rest of the artwork minimalist, giving a noticeable difference in texture with every scene. Janson follows suit with the inks which are incredibly light, mostly outlining but that alone offers geat highlight against the penciling and colors.
Anderson’s coloring is never dull but he puts on an impressive light show this issue. Leviathan and Legion are varied in hues, but the brightness of lighting is noteworthy. An issue comprised mainly of villains might often be visualized as shadowy, black with inks and shrouded faces. This encounter is wide open, illuminated, showcasing these characters as much as actual people as they are criminals. Sharpe letters the dialogue cleanly while presenting a variant word bubble for most of the characters in the story that I enjoyed, especially white text on black background for Leviathan.
This issue is a better backstory than Action Comics #1018 as it brought Leviathan into the fold where he first became a name in the DC Universe. Whatever his plans may be, and how much of Metropolis will be left standing, is going to keep this book very interesting for the foreseeable future.
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Action Comics #1019
William J. Jackson is a small town laddie who self publishes books of punk genres, Victorian Age superheroes, rocket ships, and human turmoil. He loves him some comic books, Nature, Star Trek, and the fine art of the introvert.