In their first DC Universe event, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev have dismantled every clandestine organization and left us with a mystery as to who is behind those events. Many clues have been laid, along with many red herrings, and Event Leviathan #4 left us with an ending that people have been waiting for. He was kind enough to sit down with The Beat to discuss the clues and theories that we’ve been putting together.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT READ EVENT LEVIATHAN #4!
BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS: Well, you’ll find out next issue, you went right to the spoiler, but god bless you. That’s the last question I want anyone to be left with at the end of the issue, so it’s very funny that its the first question you’d ask. But of course, that’s literally the last thing we see. But the bigger question is yes, Lois is very, very smart and didn’t just have one team. She had two teams. This other team you can already see tinges towards the more surreal or mystical. And at the same time a little grittier too. So a grittier team, but also has a little component of the other worldly. Also the number one question that it’s been asked to me or yelled at me since we announced this series is “Where the hell is Elongated Man?” As if I didn’t know the difference between Elongated Man and Plastic Man. That was very funny. So I was so happy to finally reveal our second act twist, that he has been in the series the entire time. We are going to find out what they know soon. It speaks to how Lois works and also speaks for the magic of Lois in this situation is that not only is she a reporter involved in the Superman world but her father is one of the greatest spymasters of the DC universe and she grew up with that, she knows more, she knows where to look better. Also, she knows who not to trust at the moment. So she has a whole other team she didn’t tell everybody about. She doesn’t trust everybody in that other room.
MCCREERY: Which is fair. And that did indeed answer my biggest question of where is Elongated Man?
BENDIS: I can’t spoil my story, I gotta let it unfold, but now you can see, for those who know, like hey, no at the end of the second act, here comes the big surprise. I just I don’t want to ruin the surprise. So when people reached out about Elongated Man, it killed me. You know, everyone who was very passionate to me, reaching out to me about this. He was in the outline.
MCCREERY: It did bring up a couple other questions for me, though, with a couple other people that have been missing. Especially with who’s on that team with both Zatanna and looks like John Constantine. Where’s Detective Chimp? You’ve got two Justice League Dark members, but not the one with detective in his name.
BENDIS: I will say number one, that not everyone has revealed themselves yet. Detective Chimp is not on this team, because I just didn’t think Alex wanted to draw the chimp. And when you have an artist that doesn’t want to draw something, don’t make them. We have so many awesome players you have it more than covered. For Detective Chimp fans, I hear you. I’m with you, I’ll get you another time.
MCCREERY: And that’s a great reason not to have him. Alex’s work on this book has been amazing. Especially the spread with Superman vs Leviathan in this issue.
BENDIS: Right? I couldn’t wait to get to Superman. Part of my job is to make sure that artists are inspired and doing things they want to do, and some of the casting of any book is about that who will the artists chill with? Who will they bring some real true beauty too. And everything in here is about that.
MCCREERY: So a couple other detectives that are missing, and I’ll give a pass to J’onn because he’s currently wrapped up in some stuff with Justice League. And I’ll give a pass to Tim because he’s off in the multiverse with his best friends.
BENDIS: You know I got Tim’s back, don’t worry about Tim. People think Tim is Leviathan, even though it makes absolutely no story sense, he is not in the story. But it’s funny, like people really think that Tim could go that dark. I’m curious about that.
MCCREERY: The other two that I’m just kind of wondering where they are and if they might show up, are Barry Allen and Slam Bradley?
BENDIS: Both excellent, and both off the table for other stories. Slam Bradley was someone I was going to use, but he was unavailable. In a way that makes complete story sense for us, so that was great. And I already have the Legion of Super-Heroes, so I can’t have a cast of thousands here too. So I had to pick very carefully and think about who would Lois pick. Right? Like the first team is like Batman picked it and this team is Lois picks. Who would Lois pick and why? Based on the information that she has, that others don’t, and why would she have them instead of her husband? These are all the questions that will be answered in the next issue with this new team. So what I like about a character not being available, like Wally, there’s a story reason. And that’s just like real life, sometimes you call people and they’re not available.
MCCREERY: You mentioned Silencer a little bit ago, can you shine a little more light on who she might have been talking to and what their goal might be?
BENDIS: When I came through the door at DC Comics last year, they were very deep into this New Age of Heroes, characters that I was hyped up reading all of them. Also, a lot of artists that I’ve ended up working with were on those books. Silencer and a couple others stood out as real gems. Silencer is a real winner of a character in her book. And I did, I raised my hand. And I said, “Is anyone going to be using Silencer after Silencer?” And We also know that certain characters could debut like they have and it just takes a couple years for the audience to go. “I love that character.” So yes, Silencer was perfectly created for the brand, and I loved her and had to keep that story going.
MCCREERY: So we’ve noticed the redacted text on the covers and title pages. And we we have spent a good portion of the afternoon today trying to un-redact what we can, playing kind of a Wheel of Fortune type thing of “All right, this might be this word.”
BENDIS: I will say, when we debuted this, my biggest worry was people enjoying this aspect of it, like the whodunnit? Some people get very frustrated with it, they just want the gratification. And other people love the mystery. Right. And I was hoping people will hop on board the mystery and my Twitter feed is just a smorgasbord of clues and guessing. And ongoing theories and people with backups, where there are 100% clues all of the time. And I’ve been very, very grateful that people enjoy the journey so much so thank you. A bunch of people like action and this is something else. I’m happy people are in the mood for it.
MCCREERY: Certainly, we haven’t gotten very far. So far what we have is “The event, the D???, ???? by Leviathan, p ????”
BENDIS: I will request that editorial release unredacted covers. Those covers were redacted by editorial with a lot of love, they took a lot of pleasure in it. So I will I will see if they want to show their work. It’s a group effort on it, editors Mike Cotton and Jessica Chen have been very helpful in making it fun, and making Leviathan itself fun. And that they’re also responsible for coauthoring of the Action Comics credit pages, which are like desks and the Daily Planet Twitter feed. That’s all a group effort.
MCCREERY: Those are some of my favorite parts of Action right now is those title pages.
BENDIS: Me too, and everyone takes a lot of care and love about it. So I like to let everyone know that it wasn’t just me, it’s everybody.
MCCREERY: One of our contributors thinks Leviathan is Lois. Can we rule her out just so he’ll stop posting about that theory?
BENDIS: HAHAHAHAHA. I would love that theory. Nothing would make me happier. And I do, there is a lot that’s hard to describe. So what you do is you think, so I’m Batman I have five people in the room, I’m going to run through my head, how they could be Leviathan and how they couldn’t be, right? So it’s all set up, that Leviathan has created a scenario so Batman will think, “Wow there’s a lot of clues about Lois here. So those clues are bullshit, right? So I know it’s not Lois.” But there’s a lot of Lois clues. So this is what all the detectives are dealing with that they know there’s red herrings. They know what a red herring is, they know why they’re there. They’re there just to stall. They’re there so that Leviathan can do what he wants without them figuring out who he is.
So to answer your question, yes, there are clues that it’s Lois. No, it’s not Lois. Only because that would betray everything about the character, that I’m happy to say right now, no it’s not Lois. But her place in the story, though, I think speaks to one of the bigger things we want to do, which is kind of say that Lois, what she’s always been, is that she is one of the most important and dangerous people in the DC universe and that will continue. And not just because of her connection to Superman and her being a journalist, but that she grew up the daughter of a major spymaster, she’s been trained without even knowing it to think and feel a certain way. And that’s all come into play with this story-line. And that’s what the other detectives come from.
MCCREERY: So at the end of the series when everything’s all wrapped up and the mystery is solved, are you going to do a director’s cut where you point out the clues that may have gotten missed or the clues that you laid so that people can see exactly how you led this whole story?
BENDIS: One hundred percent. We may even release the scripts so you can see where the clues were in those. I would love that. I did worry about doing a thriller or a mystery, and being online as much as I am, with a good mystery the real good ending, there’s only a few choices it can be. The worry is that everyone will guess or no one will guess right. If everyone guesses right it was a bad mystery, and if no one guesses it was a bad mystery. So right now we’re in a very good spot where a couple of people have guessed right and they’ve guessed right with the clues we’ve given them. And other people haven’t even seen these clues at all. So I feel very, very good about where we are right now. So based off this and how much certain people are really enjoying looking for the clues, I can’t wait to pull back the curtain. There’s so many readers on my Twitter feed that have earned this. So I can’t wait. Just a few more months.
MCCREERY: So off topic just a little bit. Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium also just came out.
BENDIS: Yes! And there’s a clue there too! In the Kamandi chapter, in the art of Kamandi, there’s Leviathan.
MCCREERY: Okay. I will go back and reread that. And we’re getting to the path to get my favorite future teens back. I just want to ask a question about the President Supergirl chapter. Was that meant to be a framing device for the rest of it? Or was that at the very beginning of this timeline?
BENDIS: This is the beginning of the story. It actually takes place about 40 or 50 years from now. Right? So we seemed from the first page that we’re in today, and we turned the page right? And Supergirl is Helen Mirren, we’re already in the future. She’s already started her path, and she doesn’t know it.
MCCREERY: I’m super excited for Legion. I’ve been waiting six years to get these kids back.
BENDIS: And I’m delighted to tell you, that even if you hate every choice I make, Ryan Sook has delivered nothing but gorgeous, gorgeousness in every panel. It is one of the most beautiful Legion books that has ever existed. I can’t wait for people to it.
Event Leviathan #4 is available at your local comic shop today and digitally on ComiXology.