REVIEW: Bedlam #1

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Halloween saw the release of few spooky type stories that hit on the ghosts and undead flavors of the holiday. But where was the bloody, slasher, emotionally horrifying story? Inside the pages of Bedlam. Your Major Spoiler’s review is just after the jump!

Bedlam #1
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colors: Jean-Paul Csuka
Letters: Kelly Tindall
Design: Tim Daniel
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

 

Previously in Bedlam: Nothing. Notta. Zip. It’s a completely clean slate as issue number one hits shelves. So what do say we jump on this ride that is Bedlam together? Here is a poncho to keep the blood from getting on your nice clothes.

MATTHEW, DO NOT READ THIS!

If you have been around Major Spoilers for a while then you might know a few things about writer, co-host, and half-orc Matthew Petterson. One of those things might be that he has a voice comparable to Chris Martin. Another is that he has a disdain for stories using violence towards children as a mechanic to heighten drama. It is because of this that he, and anyone who shares that feeling, should completely stay away from Bedlam. If you understand where those people are coming from but those situations don’t ruin your reading experience than this may be the book for you.

Bedlam revolves around a mass-serial murderer who goes by the name of Madder Red. Madder Red has been committing crime after crime in Bedlam for three years when the issue opens up and we are thrown into one of the largest, bloodiest sprees Madder has, hopefully, committed. As the initial call into the police is laid out with the orders from dispatch following we are shown the horror Madder has committed of murdering an entire grade school class and an orchestra. Then after some truly disturbing dialogue Madder slices a little girls throat on panel. ON PANEL! Now that all happens within the first seven pages of this roughly 50-paged issue so the foundation of a disturbing comic is laid early.

From there to the end we are thrown into present time with continual flash backs to that horrifying day. The way Spencer weaves back and forth from past and present keeps the story moving at a nice pace, but never fast enough that the psychotic, deliberate mind of Madder doesn’t shine through. It’s not just in the past Madder that is insane; it is also his present day, unmasked self as well. Want proof? He forced two men to shoot him in the shoulder and thigh. Bedlam is wonderfully, beautifully disturbing.

FEEL THE TERROR

I was first introduced to Riley Rossmo’s artwork earlier this year through another Image series, a mini titled Debris. Rossmo’s ability to depict a desolate torn-apart world enhanced the overall story there and he uses the same skills here; instead of a waste though we are treated to a rough, mildly chaotic city. The horror that Madder Red has infected on those involved is visibly enhanced through the rough lines on the characters. Multiple times during the issue the style reminded me of Jeff Lemire but with a heavier line.

BOTTOM LINE: READ IT WITH CAUTION

Bedlam #1 caught me by surprise last week. I knew going into the read what the book was roughly about but I wasn’t mentally prepared for this. If you don’t like large amounts of blood, dismemberment, child endangerment, with spats of foul language in your comics than Bedlam isn’t for you. Now if you are capable of handling those inside your weekly reading you must check this out. Madder Red could be compared to The Joker in The Dark Knight and Madder is just as entertaining to read as it was to watch Heth Ledger. The hook that finished off the book will take this series in an interesting direction and you aren’t going to want to miss it.

Rating: ★★★★½

DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!
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