“The mythical sea beast of the Old Testament?”
“The eidolon that crashes the ship in Final Fantasy IV?”
“The evil organization from Grant Morrison’s Batman run?”
“No. I mean, yes, it’s an evil organization, but this one’s Marvel.”
“Oh, so it’s like Hydra?”
The big bad of Marvel’s Agent Carter series has been hinted at as Leviathan, as bespake by the electro-throated men doing its bidding. If you’re like me, you heard the name and thought of all the above examples. But it’s none of those. Here’s what it is.
1. It’s the Cold War Hydra: Just like Hydra was a by-product of Nazi Germany, Leviathan was a by-product of Communist Russia, except most of its members were cryogenically frozen, much like a certain Winter Soldier, which is a great way to explain away how new characters with Cold War roots were supposedly always there and able to still operate in the 21st century. Apparently, back in the day, SHIELD, Hydra, Leviathan and the Hand used to play war games, but as could be expected, things got out of hand and double-cross-y.
2. It was created by the architect of the Marvel Universe’s destruction: Jonathan Hickman created Leviathan during his run on Secret Warriors, the book about original-recipe Nick Fury’s underground special ops team made up of the children of supervillains. Hickman also wrote the SHIELD series that traced the agency’s origins back to the Egyptian Imhotep in a sort of League of Extraordinary Historical Gentlemen. Hickman can currently be found preparing to smash the multiverse together for this year’s Secret Wars event that may or may not be the end of the Marvel Universe as we know it.
3. One of its members was killed by Bill Paxton: Well, not really, but Magadan, Leviathan’s leader, was assassinated by cybernetically enhanced SHIELD Agent John Garrett, whom Paxton played on the TV show as the eventual big bad of Season 1. Garrett was created by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz for the 1980s Elektra: Assassin miniseries.
4. Nick Fury’s girlfriend was one of its leaders: Among the Leviathan brass was the Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, regular flame of Fury and creation of SHIELD progenitor Jim Steranko. The contessa acted as a mole inside SHIELD and Hydra but was apparently working for the Russian organization the whole time. … except at some point she had been replaced by a Skrull, according to Secret Invasion. Twice.
5. There’s Brood stuff: X-Men fans know the Brood as the Chris Claremont-created Alien ripoffs that like to try to lay their eggs in mutants. Apparently, SHIELD, Hydra, Leviathan and the Hand at one point tried to use Brood technology to create super soldiers (because that’s all any global Marvel organization wants), which is where all the double-crossing comes into play.
Read this: Secret Warriors 1-28 by Brian Michael Bendis, Jonathan Hickman and Stefano Castelli