Its Halloween week and Image comics chose this unique opportunity to introduce their newest serial killer to the world of comics. From the brilliantly creative mind of Nick Spencer comes the twisted story of Bedlam, a city, that has recently, gotten over the terror of the murderous acts of a sick and twisted man who preys on the local children and women. Especially children. This book isn’t the customary serial killer story, and the wonderful art by Riley Rossmo reflects its untraditional style.
WRITTEN BY: Nick Spencer
ART BY: Riley Rossmo
RELEASE: October 31st
The story of “Bedlam” is a solid one; it uses flashbacks to explain the origin of Madder Red, a psychopathic serial that at one time slaughtered thousands of people just for the hell of it. Now, he’s dead but the city is still haunted by his work. As the book progresses it becomes clear that the main protagonist, Fillmore, has a dirty little secret. At this point the flow of the book can be hard to follow; utilizing the flashbacks to progress the story of Madder Red with lots of dialogue that helps the reader get into his head while showing Fillmore’s life in the present day. As the book comes to its conclusion the story definitely fits cleanly together and makes sense but throughout the read it can be tedious at times.
Nick Spencer knows what he’s doing; he’s become known for his stray-from-the-beaten-path storytelling that keeps the reader guessing from start to finish. It would be hard for anyone to read Spencer’s Madder Red and not think of the Joker, but regardless I love it. The book starts off with a bang and keeps pacing well throughout. There are times when the story slows down for some expositions, but even when the dialogue is hefty the delivery is done in such a way that it doesn’t feel slowed. Where “Bedlam” really starts to take shape is the final few pages of the issue, showing that this is not just a Joker ripoff, but something else entirely. Something that could never be done in the DCU.
The art in this book is the kind of awesome you’d expect from Rossmo. The flashbacks images are look as though they are not finished, adding a sense of grit and unease. At these stages of the story the images are also in black and white except for anything red, whether its clothing or the enormous amounts of blood, adding to the uniqueness of the art. When the story follows Fillmore, there is still an emphasis on the colour red but the art is much more cleaned up and with many other colours in the spectrum.
“Bedlam” has a lot of potential, though the story was confusing at times the ending tied together well, leaving so much room for the creative team to run free. The issue is also extra-sized, which gives you an extra bang for your buck. Every fan of the horror genre should read this book.
Reviewed by – GreenBasterd