Review: Bedlam #2

by

Characters like the Joker will always be interesting.  It’s an insight into the mind of the insane, and that type of study is endlessly entertaining.  So it’s no surprise that Nick Spencer and Riley Rossmo’s Bedlam is a great read, and very wicked.

Quick recap/review of Bedlam #1.  Bedlam #1 was all about establishing our villainous lead, Fillmore/Madder Red.  The reader got a quick history of who he was and why the city of Bedlam hates him so much.  Murdering children will do that too a population.  But the thing that hooked me was the dialogue between the Madder Red and…..well everyone else.  His twisted mind and view on deaths made me immediately reread the issue.

Nick Spencer also started a mystery though.  #2 takes all those mysteries and starts developing them rather nicely.  There are still plenty of questions, but Spencer teases just enough development to whet the readers appetite.  The one thing that I’m having a hard time understanding is the time frame of the story.  How much time has passed in between the time Fillmore was the Madder Red?  And while I’m glad Spencer developed the supporting cast, I wish more time could have been spent on Fillmore.  He’s too interesting of a character to leave out for a few pages.

One direction I wasn’t expecting was a Dexter-y angle that appears near the end.  I assumed that the murderer at the beginning was Fillmore and he was having split personality issues.  But instead we see Fillmore trying to help capture a killer.  It won’t be completely genuine, but a good direction none the less.  This direction will give Fillmore plenty of opportunities to mess with the readers head.  Will he help them?  Will he just help himself?  I’m getting a little excited thinking about what could come.  But the reason Bedlam #2 gets such a high review is that it breaks up the rest of the books I’m reading.  It’s a little wordy, but if the characters are interesting, I don’t care if they talk for pages.  It helps sell the banality of this city.  Who wouldn’t want to go on a murder spree when you are bored all the time.

Riley Rossmo’s pencils are just as twisted as Spencer’s script.  The scratchiness adds to the twisted thoughts of Fillmore/Madder Red.  As with #1, the use of red is great.  There aren’t as many scenes with Madder Red, so it doesn’t factor in as much as #1.  With more of the issue just talking heads, Rossmo doesn’t get as many epic scenes to pencil.  There is no massive, bloody theater scene as in #1.  But the characters are expressive and have a personality of their own.  The murder at the beginning of the book is the highlight.  It’s creepy in a way that makes you unable to look away.  Spencer’s script tells us how boring Bedlam is, but Rossmo sells this.  The use of drab colors, and the overall look of background character’s faces create an oppressive atmosphere.

Readers looking for something a little different than super hero fighting should check out Bedlam. Highly recommended.

Bedlam #2 gets 4/5.

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