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Cover to Year of the Villain #1 by Greg Capullo

Brian Michael Bendis says Event Leviathan is a whodunit that will change the DCU

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May 1, 2019

Fans who pick up DC Comics’ Year of The Villain #1, freshly released at your friendly neighborhood comics shop, are getting themselves an early 70s-style bargain with the comic sporting a 25 cent cover price. The issue also features an eight-page preview that is the first piece of the puzzle that is Event Leviathan, a mystery Brian Bendis says will have massive, far-reaching repercussions for the DC Universe and in particular, all its various spy agencies. From A.R.G.U.S. to Checkmate and Spyral, this ‘Crisis Of Infinite Organizations’ is going to permanently alter the landscape.

(You can check out the entire 8-page preview at the bottom of the page!)

According to Bendis, Event Leviathan hews closer to an Agatha Christie novel populated by caped heroes than it does to earlier DC event series such as Blackest Night or Final Crisis. “It’s a whodunit, it’s a thriller,” he said during an invitation-only press event at the DC Comics offices in Burbank which SYFY WIRE attended. “The reason I bring that up is that so many event mini-series…have a disaster movie structure, and I’ve done that. I’m responsible for some of that. In this one, we said, let’s get a little more like Batman. Let’s get a little more detective. Detectives show up after something happens and try to figure it out.”

Event Leviathan is a six-issue limited series debuting June 12. Scripted by Bendis and illustrated by his longtime friend and collaborator Alex Maleev, it surrounds the new character Leviathan. In the prelude we see in Year of the Villain #1, Leviathan offers Batgirl a better way to save the day. When the mystery person tells her, “Look around. It doesn’t work,” Barbara doesn’t answer. While the heroes try to solve the mystery before the sun comes up,  the role of heroism is called into question. “He’s not selling villainy, and he’s not selling antagonism," Bendis says. "There’s heroes and there’s villains, and there’s this other thing right now. And that’s going to mess with a lot of people’s heads."

Bendis teased that literally the entire DCU is a suspect, and then assured that by the end of the six-issue limited series, we will discover Leviathan's true identity. Some of the DCU’s best sleuths — Batman, Green Arrow, The Question, Plastic Man and Lois Lane — come together to solve the mystery. “I kind of had an open book on who I could use for this, and I couldn’t think of anyone more important than [Lois],” Bendis says. “You know, there’s people who always try to get to Superman by kidnapping Lois. That never works. Not one time! You know why? Because she’s the most dangerous woman in the world. Not because she’s married to Superman, but because of …who her father is, and because she has autonomous publishing power, like some of the New York Times reporters. That’s a very dangerous woman.”

The initial idea for the story spun out of a conversation Bendis had with DC Comics publisher Dan DiDio shortly after making the jump from Marvel. “My very first meeting with Dan here in Burbank … we were talking about the stories we could tell and what characters [we could use],” recalls Bendis. “And Dan says, ‘you know, we have a lot of redundant organizations in the DC Universe. I feel like there’s a good story where it all gets cleaned up.’ And I said, ‘I’m on it!’”

The Eisner-winning writer also wanted to give Maleev a story that was an ideal fit for his digital painting skills. “I knew this would be Alex Maleev’s return to DC and he really wanted to draw Batman. As much as he wanted to draw Daredevil and all the other stuff we’ve done [in the past], he was waiting around for Batman,” Bendis says. “I …structured the story around his strengths and his shadows.”

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