Batman: Streets of Gotham – Leviathan- Graphic Novel Review
TITLE: Batman: Streets of Gotham – Leviathan
AUTHORS: Paul Dini, Christopher Yost, Mike Benson
PENCILLER: Dustin Nguyen
COLLECTS: Batman: Streets of Gotham #5-11
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
RELEASE DATE: October 27
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
Leviathan is one of those books that’s kinda all over the place. It starts in the sky, then goes into a church, then into a nice apartment building, then into a pit with young boys fighting each other. In another world, it might have been the biography of Michael Jackson…
But alas, we live in this world.
The book features three stories, two of which are self-containing. The third starts at about the middle of the book, and is revisited at the end. Christopher Yost takes the helm as Huntress tries to catch a seemingly rage-fueled Man-Bat. The two ultimately end up held hostage in a chapel by an apparently delirious pastor, who may have had his faith tested one too many times. Mike Benson takes the wheel as Dick Grayson hunts down a mysterious murderer. Paul Dini’s portion of the book is devoted to Zsasz starting a child slavery ring, in which the hostages are forced to fight one another to the death. He introduces us to a boy who can increase his muscle mass exponentially. He has the tragic surname Abuse.
I’m not entirely thrilled with the way Dini writes the Zsasz character. He was created as a blood thirsty, knife-wielding pyshopath who carves a tally mark into his skin for every murder he commits (he actually appears briefly in Batman Begins). Dini writes him as a much more reserved character, with the blood-lust being more subdued. Dini rarely goes wrong in my book, but I didn’t particularly like that move. In contrast, he writes Damian rather well.
The Benson story fell flat with me. Sorry Mike. It just didn’t sustain my interest. Luckily, Christopher Yost stole the show. He crafted a two-issue story arc that had a nice moral to it at the end. It certainly doesn’t hurt that in her post-Crisis incarnation, Huntress has always worn that golden cross around her neck. Stories that involve her and religious implications will always have a certain intrigue to them at least.
I’ve talked about Dustin Nguyen before. His art can be good or bad, depending on the subject matter. I’m never going to be his biggest fan, but his does his job well in this book. There’s a panel in issue #7 where Robin has this look of sickened rage on his face that was done particularly well.
Like it’s predecessor, Hush Money, Leviathan is not a classic by any means. But I don’t think it’s meant to be. I think this book was designed to flesh out Gotham City, and it does that nicely. We’re introduced to new characters, who hopefully we’ll see more of down the line. It’s execution isn’t always wonderful, but that may be a matter of taste. You can’t fault this book for its intentions.