Review: Bedlam #3


bedlam-3The most talkative comic on the stands continues to be all words. Bedlam #3 is another good issue, but has a few problems that could have been ironed out of the finished project.

Nick Spencer brings Madder Red/Fillmore into the police force, to help with all these gruesome murders.  This leaves most of the issue in present, having Fillmore play with the police whilst helping them.  While the police seem to know nothing, it is refreshing to see police act like actual police.  Too often officers act like morons for the sake of the plot.  Reading how Fillmore makes the connections is fun to read, in the same way it’s fun to read the Joker outsmart Batman after the Bat had everything planned.  Spencer writes Fillmore very well, giving the reader as many doubts as the police force.  The reader can’t tell if Fillmore is actually helping them, or just playing them the fool.  This dynamic is interesting to read, and something that doesn’t come around often in comics.  Considering this is a world with superheroes, it will be interesting to see how Spencer writes Fillmore’s interactions with The First next issue.

In the first two issues, Spencer gave readers equal past and present.  This page usage worked perfectly, showing readers that Fillmore knows what he is talking about.  In #3 though, we are stuck in the present.  The best part of the issue is showing Madder Red go berserk on numerous cats, and how they make him grow as a person.  Not only is it hysterical, it shows some development between Madder Red and Fillmore.  I’d like to see more of this, as there is a vague time line between the past and present.  The big problem with Bedlam right now is the vagueness of everything.  Why is this…crotchless…person killing people? What’s his motivation?  Fillmore seems to figure out some of it, but there has to be more.  The reason we want Dexter to murder the bad people on Dexter is we know WHY they are bad people.  It makes the chase much more thrilling. Granted, we are three issues into a new series, so Spencer has plenty of time to work out the kinks.  He’s been teasing information masterfully in Morning Glories for years, the lack of information has to be part of his plan

Riley Rossmo has been nailing this series, but this issue seems rushed.  The first two issues were scratchy, but #3 is scratchy to the point where the reader can’t tell what is going on.  Much like the writing, the Madder Red rehabilitation scenes are the best drawn.  Rossmo has great comedic timing.  He paces the rest of the issue very well.  It feels like the issue is a break down of a TV show.  Once we get to the present though, the scratchiness should have been turned down.  While in the past, the scratchiness makes it seem like we are seeing the past through Madder Red’s eyes.  These scenes seem crazy.  Most of the characters seem to lose their eyes if they aren’t the main focus of the panel.  Criticisms aside, this issue still looks good.  The drab colors make the world feel lived in, and more real than most of the comics on the stands.

Bedlam #3 is slightly weaker than the first two, but still an enjoyable comic.  Not every issue can be amazing.

Bedlam #3 gets 3.5/5.

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