Advance Review: Bedlam #4

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IMG120562After a slightly lack luster third issue, Bedlam seems to be back on track story wise.  The plot takes a big leap forward, but there is a distinct lack in character development.

Nick Spencer seems to be trying to figure out what works the best in the book.  Fillmore is the highlight of the book, so it’s a disappointment that he isn’t in the book much.  He appears at the beginning and the end, but his crazy commentary could have lived up the issue more.  Not to say the issue wasn’t an enjoyable read.  The development in the murders is an interesting one, and explains a lot about our crotchless villain.  It fits well in this increasingly creepy world.  Now that the reason for the murders has surfaced, it seems incredibly clear.  It gives readers one of those “dua doy” moments.  Fillmore shows a little bit of brilliance in his interactions with the First and police.  He’s equal parts Joker and Batman.  Methodical, but still insane.  This is why I want more Fillmore in this book.

One thing that I love about Bedlam is the realistic way the police act towards Fillmore and the First.  They look and act like real cops, even in this fantastical world.  The plot is interesting, but the characters that inhabit it are much more interesting.  The interactions between the numerous police officers and Fillmore are incredibly fun to read.  I’d like to see an equal balance between police procedural and Fillmore’s rabid brain.  Spencer made the right choice in not going into Madder Red’s past this month.  In #3, it ruined the momentum and had nothing to do with what was going on.  As they are these scenes have been the funniest to read, having them only appear sporadically makes them that much sweeter.

Riley Rossmo’s artwork improves this month.  The scratchiness is toned down in favor of detailed expressions.  Rossmo adds a slight red tint to Fillmore, which I almost missed the first read through.  The opening death isn’t all that gruesome, but it’s still just as shocking.  Considering this book has been shipping monthly, it’s impressive that Rossmo has continued his detailed pencil work month in and month out.  The lack of backgrounds usually bugs the hell out of me, but it doesn’t here for some reason.  He brings the focus to the characters so well that we don’t need a background.  Rossmo’s inking deserves special mention, as it sets the tone perfectly for a lot of scenes.  His colors seem to be brightening up a bit.  Bedlam is still filled with browns and grays, but they aren’t as muted as they have been.

Bedlam is still all dialogue, but it’s still a very fun book to read.  Once Spencer figures out the best balance of past and present, and character development in each issue, Bedlam will find it’s pure brilliance.  But for now, it’s just damn great.

Bedlam #4 gets 4/5.

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