The first issue of Bedlam was dripping with creepiness, emotion and blood and provided a look inside the mind of a killer who is now reformed. Does the second issue match the quality of the first? Major Spoilers takes a look.
Previously in Bedlam: Madder Red is one sick, twisted f@$!. After being kidnapped by an equally twisted doctor, he is now living life as a normal person. At least as normal as someone like him, can. Now he’s anonymously calling the police to help them catch a new killer. Because who better thinks like a killer than a killer himself?
I’ll start by saying that I absolutely loved the first issue of Bedlam. It was dark, twisted, disturbing and had a main character with a unique voice and personality. It was a gripping issue, one that surprised me quite a bit, so it goes without saying that I was looking forward to the second. I wasn’t disappointed.
The issue starts with two men who appear to have been friends, running into one another and going out for coffee. Danny and Eric both appear to have substance abuse problems as they discuss going to AA or NA meetings and people they used to know. Things don’t end well as Eric drugs Danny’s coffee and ties him up in a barn. Turns out Eric has a lot more wrong with him than substance abuse. He stands naked, wearing fishnet stockings and metal angel wings. And it appears that his penis has been removed as well.
It’s at this point in the book where you’ll probably know if you’re in or out. If you were turned off by the disturbing nature of the first issue, then this one sure as hell isn’t for you. Even some who may have enjoyed that issue may be turned off. I was incredibly disturbed, even felt dirty, yet I couldn’t stop reading. We’re shown more of Madder Red’s past, mainly involving the surgery performed to make him “normal”. This consists of removing the top of his skull and poking around in his brain. This imagery sticks with you and you’ll know if you’re the audience for this kind of book or not. We’re seeing the mind of a sick individual, one who is trying to now live a normal life. The dialogue is just as sharp here as it was in the first issue, though the personality of Madder Red isn’t present much, something in the first issue I enjoyed the most. Fillmore is on display and he’s clearly trying to adjust to a “normal” life. Spencer writes all his characters well and an eerie, creepy feeling is present throughout. The story is again told by jumping back and forth from past to present, a technique Spencer has used in other books. He’s good at writing stories with some mystery and this one is no different. We’re slowly starting to learn what happened to Madder Red and at the same time are introduced to a new serial killer. All this keeps me hooked, and once again, I find myself anxiously awaiting the next issue.
A SICK MIND ON DISPLAY
Riley Rossmo’s art captures the tone of this book perfectly. Heavy lines are used with a “scratchy” style that’s as dark and twisted as the story itself. Some of the best pages are the full page shots of Madder Red strapped to a chair with the top off his head removed as strange images (like rats with six legs) swirl around him. Colors are muted with dull tones, and flashbacks are presented in two tones, white and red. The red jumps off the page in the book, even more so in these sections. The facial expressions stood out in this issue, particularly as Fillmore looks at the horse and torso at the end. He appears as though he’s gazing upon something of beauty which shows he is a really sick character.
BOTTOM LINE: AGAIN, APPROACH WITH CAUTION
I believe in Zach’s review of issue one he said to approach with caution and I have to say the same thing with this issue. If you’re reading, chances are you enjoyed the first and know this is something you can handle. If you didn’t like the first but are sticking around to see if your opinion changes, let me tell you, it won’t. This issue continues great engaging storytelling. Though I miss Madder Red’s personality, there is still enough here to entertain. Bedlam #2 receives a twisted 4 out of 5 stars. You may feel the need to shower after this one…
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!