I've been doing a reread of Brian Bendis's Superman/Action run this past week -- with the publication of Action 1009, he's reached 24 full issues, plus a short in Action Comics 1000. And I've found some interesting threads to consider.

1) On his recent Word Balloon interview, Bendis mentioned that there's a conspiracy at STAR Labs. It was one of their experiments going wrong that plunged Earth into the Phantom Zone in the first issues of Superman. Specifically, it was "Phantom Zone mapping," which they'd done before with no ill effects. So it might have been sabotage, or an interaction with another experiment the rank-and-file didn't know about. 

Anyway, in Man of Steel #1, Lois mentions the Vice President has a secret financial stake in STAR Labs's overseas operations. She was just about the force him to disclose it when she headed out into space. (The allegations about the VP are repeated in issue 2, so there's a good chance this isn't throwaway dialogue.)

2) The Dominators. The first issue of Superman opens with Clark out in space, looking in all directions for Lois and Jon. He spots a Dominator fleet heading straight for Earth. Light-years away, but on the move. He flies out there and disables them before they cause any harm.

Later, in issue 7, Jon tells his story of his time with Mr. Oz. That *also* begins with a fight with the Dominators, heading straight for earth. And Jon & Mr. Oz take out the fleet. It seems weird that two unrelated Dominator fleets were heading for Earth at approximately the same time. (The fight in issue 7 would have happened before the fight in issue 1.) So either the Dominators are being really persistent in targeting Earth, or maybe it's a hole in the now-aged-and-returned Jon's story. The one drawback to that theory is that Lois was there for the Dominator battle. She might not have been aware of which aliens they were, but I can't imagine her not asking. 

Anyway, I found that a little strange.

3) The visions. In Superman issue 5, Zod has a vision of a peaceful future, with the houses of El & Zod celebrating a tenuous wedding to unite their houses. Kandorians are there also, indicating that Zod doesn't yet know they've been killed by Rogol Zaar. The scene is broken up by an attack from a large group of flying people...and in issue 5, it was easy to presume it was the horde of Phantom Zone criminals Zaar was leading.

And yet in issue 9, Superman daydreams himself a similar peaceful scene -- World Peace Day, with superheroes the world over thanking him for making it possible. Zod arrives on the scene in a spirit of truce as well, seemingly invited by Jon. And then, another attack from the sky. We can see the attackers a little more clearly this time, and can make out some silhouettes. And it could very well be the Legion of Super-Heroes. (There are figures that look like Bouncing Boy, Gates, Lightning Lad, and Chameleon Boy among them.) And that puts the last line Zod says before getting attacked in *his* dream in a different perspective. His last words there were, "The future..." 

I haven't reread Action Comics yet (aside from the story in 1000), but I'm betting I'll find more clues and things that reward close reading there, too. 

Anyway, that's what I've got to say for now. I'll probably follow up with some nice moments from the run in a little while. There's definitely one bit of storytelling in Superman issue 6 that I really want to highlight -- a virtuoso use of the comics medium.

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I read the Year of the Villain issue last night. Has there ever been a Green Arrow/Batgirl team-up? I ask this sincerely, because while I haven't ever read one, it doesn't mean it hasn't happened. I think they made a great pair.

I don't buy in to Robin's suggestion at the end, by the way. It will be an interesting red herring, though.

Yeah, I'm VERY interested in hearing Robin's reasoning! We don't have access to the information he has, I think -- we've been seeing it from Superman's perspective so far, not Batman & Robin's.

Even though Event Leviathan is out today, it's the first page of Superman 12 that has the most interesting seed for future stories, as Jax-Ur grouses about Jor-El:


Um, CHILDREN? What does Jax-Ur know that we don't?

Nice! I figured there'd be a Silver Age version floating around somewhere. 

I thought Event Leviathan #1 was good. I like the fact that ARGUS came up with a way to evade all of Batman's detection methods every time he came up with a new one. I also like how you get a true feeling of confusion and not knowing all of the pieces or who is where or who is behind it. I think too often we get the superhero who knows everything or figures everything out. Here you have the Question, Green Arrow, Batman, and Lois Lane all not knowing who is responsible or what is happening.

I'm looking forward to the rest of this series!

I'm really enjoying it, too. I have to admit, I would have liked a little more forward progression on the story in this issue -- I didn't see a lot of clues I recognized as clues, for example -- but I think it was an important issue to get people who haven't been reading Action Comics up to speed. And it's also good to know that the day when this is happening is a day when Superman is off-planet -- presumably dealing with what's going on in space, with Jor-El, Supergirl, and Superboy (and Rogol Zaar, Zod, and others). It's good to have separation between those stories, and have one of those rare moments when we know where everyone is on the timeline. 

Also, if this story is taking a day, we might see the ramifications of its conclusions -- or hints at those ramifications -- in DC books in the coming months. I hope we don't find out too much. The timing is tricky -- I'm sure a lot depends on this book being on-time. Bendis has been really good with that on his DC titles, for the most part (although the last issue of Naomi has been pushed back a bit). Hopefully that trend continues.  

Yes, I agree. This story was really a few people standing around having a very realistic discussion on what's been going on, and trying to make sense of it. But that's as far as we got.

I didn't realize that this entire six-issue story was to take place in one day. It's not the end of the world if this is true, nor is it unprecedented. While typing this, I realize that it doesn't matter to me at all. I just didn't realize it was a thing.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

I'm really enjoying it, too. I have to admit, I would have liked a little more forward progression on the story in this issue --

Well, I'm not certain the whole story happens in a day -- but that's how Bendis has set up the ticking clock, so I'd expect most of it, at least, to take place over this night, and then the climax being the next morning, when the second stage of Leviathan's plan is supposed to happen.

By the way, I updated the thread title to include Event Leviathan, to let people know it's getting discussed here. When the event's over, I'll probably change the thread title back.

Thanks! I think I thought of it as a Superman comic because of the story's origins in Action Comics.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

By the way, I updated the thread title to include Event Leviathan, to let people know it's getting discussed here. When the event's over, I'll probably change the thread title back.

Good eye, Rob! I just read this today. This is probably my favorite issue of Bendis's run on the Superman title. I feel like we're finally getting some forward momentum, with some surprising revelations to come soon.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Even though Event Leviathan is out today, it's the first page of Superman 12 that has the most interesting seed for future stories, as Jax-Ur grouses about Jor-El:


Um, CHILDREN? What does Jax-Ur know that we don't?

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