WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Action Comics #1011, by Brian Michael Bendis and Steve Epting
The criminal organization Leviathan has been moving in the shadows for months, targeting specific groups and people. In the pages of Action Comics, the group has managed to up-end most of the stabilizing forces in the DC Universe, including the DEO, ARGUS and Checkmate. While the heroes scramble to try and respond to these attacks, Leviathan has also secretly been sowing seeds of conflict amongst the DCU's heroes by approaching some and trying to recruit them.
In Action Comics #1011, Leviathan makes the pitch to another superhero, specifically, the Metropolis-based Guardian. In the process, it's revealed other heroes have received that same offer -- but how many of them have said, yes?
In earlier issues of Action Comics, Guardian was attacked by new villain Red Cloud while confronting a crime lord. The fight left Jim Harper in the hospital, and the hero has spent the last ten issues slowly recovering from his injuries. But on the eve of finally being released, a figure arrives to talk with him. Harper mentions something strange happening with the man's face, indicating he's likely using Spyral technology to disguise his identity, as the shadowy figure offers Harper a place in the new world that he's building.
Guardian isn't the only hero who's been told they could have a place in Leviathan's "new world". Batgirl got the offer in the DC: Year of the Villain Special , and recent teasers suggest Plastic Man will soon be getting a similar sales pitch. There's no way of telling how many other heroes have taken the organization up on the opportunity, let alone which villains have also decided to work with Leviathan.
The fact that Guardian, specifically, is getting such an offer is interesting, though. There have been multiple men to bear the name over the years, the first in 1942, created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon in the pages of Star-Spangled Comics. The title has been assumed by other heroes over the decades, including Mal Duncan and Jake Jordan, but the current Guardian, Jim Harper, has (through various means) been the Guardian multiple times. The character also has connections to CADMUS, giving him a deeper connection to the greater DC Universe than his street-level style of justice might imply.
One of the major suspects for the true identity of Leviathan's leader is Jason Todd, a former Robin who may potentially see a similar soul in the vigilante Guardian. Guardian is a former cop, dedicated to protecting the lives of the people of Metropoli, but he's also exhibited a willingness to go all out against criminals. If it is indeed Jason behind Leviathan's rise, then his development in recent years into an increasingly unrepentant killer could speak to Guardian, especially if Harper is as close to "snapping" as he claimed to be before he landed in the hospital.
Or maybe Guardian will be the one who doesn't take up the offer and is the one to alert the Justice League to the potential of traitors among their numbers. A time-skip at the end of the Flash/Batman crossover "The Price" revealed that Batman believes someone has turned any number of heroes, which happens to describe what we're seeing here. Now that we know that Leviathan has begun approaching heroes, the real question is, how many have already taken them up on that offer?
Action Comics #1011 by Brian Michael Bendis and Steve Epting is now on sale.