Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: John Layman
Artwork: Nick Pitarra
Colours: Michael Garland
Lettering: John Layman
Release Date: 1st August 2018
Ryan DeLuca is not having a good evening. His party has been crashed by the local Goths, his plans to propose to his girlfriend Vivian have completely gone out the window, and he’s run out of beer… oh and while he’s trawling the streets for an open liquor store the aforementioned Goths have summoned a ten-storey high, fire-breathing monster bent on destruction.
I’m just going to come out and say it… BUY THIS COMIC!!! I tried to be restrained and eloquent about it, but the first issue of LEVIATHAN is just a whole bundle of awesome!
Normally I’d start by talking about John Layman’s (CHEW) brilliant writing and I promise I will get to it but the star of this show for me is the art by Nick Pitarra (The Red Wing, The Manhattan Projects) and colouring by Michael Garland (The Manhattan Projects). Pitarra freely admits he is inspired by the work of Geoff Darrow and boy is it apparent in the detail he has put into this issue. That isn’t to say Pitarra doesn’t have his own style, he does and in spades, but the effort he puts into the details really make his art something special. The characters are brilliantly drawn, every one an individual and every one memorable. There is also a depiction of what may or may not be a current President of the United States that is so on the nose it’s scary!
The monster design is awesome! Godzilla / Kaiju / Dragon / Predator, all rolled into one with each individual scale, claw, tooth and mandible beautifully rendered; and if the sneaky look I had at the cover of issue 2 is anything to go by we’re going to have a bunch of equally beautiful, terrible beasties to come.
Michael Garland turns Pitarra’s art into genuine, hang it in the Louvre, works of art. There are a few pages that I actually spent a good ten minutes just staring at before I remembered to get on with it and actually read the rest of the book. I defy you to get to that first double spread of the monster and not just sit there and go “wow!” It has everything you could possibly want and there’s so much detail in there that I had a “Where’s Waldo” moment as I tried to take in every single little thing.
In a very short time, Layman creates a world and a set of characters that are interesting, funny and multi-dimensional. Quite a lot happens in this issue, and normally I’d give the writer a tough time for throwing too much at us, but it really works well this time. We’ve got a stoner goth with a supernatural background, a local priest and a local hobo that seem to know way more about what’s going on than they should, a military team with suspiciously ready-to-go giant robots and, last but not least, we’ve got Ryan desperately trying to make it back to Vee in the wake of the monster’s destruction. I love the idea that this isn’t just a Kaiju story but is also tied in with demonic summoning, it’s definitely something I haven’t come across before and after the massive success of Oni Press’ KAIJUMAX, it’s brilliant to see another fresh take on the genre.
Layman, Pitarra and Garland clearly subscribe to the “go big or go home” school of comics, and this is the perfect material for them to do this with. I mean, it’s got to be impossible not to want to go over the top and have massive amounts of fun with a Demonic Kaiju story. I’m already wishing that this was going to be longer than the five-issue run it’s slated for, but this is a damned good first issue and I’m already tapping my fingers impatiently for the next instalment.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Alex Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek