Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev have a reputation for using crime noir elements to enrich superhero narratives. By extension, this makes them an ideal creative team for DC Comics’ Event Leviathan, a thriller about superhero detectives solving the mystery of an evil clandestine organization. Bendis and Maleev’s Marvel collaborations became more fantastic over time—starting with the street-level grit of Daredevil and ending with the techno-mystical spectacle of Infamous Iron Man—a transition that set them up very well to work in the DC Universe, which isn’t as rooted in “reality” as Marvel.
With Event Leviathan, Bendis and Maleev assemble a group of DC detectives who all have their own bold personalities, giving them a lot to work with in terms of interpersonal dynamics. Bendis and Maleev are very good at using different page layouts to add variation to conversations. This exclusive preview of this week’s Event Leviathan #4 shows a lot of different ways to lay out a scene across one or two pages to change the pace, with letterer Josh Reed doing some very impressive work placing dialogue to flow smoothly with the panel compositions.
This excerpt highlights Maleev’s dramatic storytelling and how he uses color and texture to evoke different atmospheres and emotions. The first page is a striking breakdown of all the main players in the book that also creates a sense of disorientation with layered neon colors as Superman scans the people around him to detect if there’s anything suspicious. There’s a subtle character beat in those headshots, with Superman not scanning his wife Lois because he wholly trusts her. There are more cool visual effects later in this excerpt when Superman tries to use his superpowers to uncover Leviathan’s identity, and visual flourishes like those visually distinguish this series from other DC titles.