REVIEW: Bedlam #3

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Image Comics has been putting out some stellar books recently with Bedlam being one of them. Providing a look at the mind of a reformed serial killer, it is one of the best books Image is putting out. It is also one of the more disturbing as well. Major Spoilers dares to open the pages of the latest issue and see what twisted games are afoot.

Bedlam_3_coverBedlam #3
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Letterer: Kelley Tindall
Colorist: Jean-Paul Csuka
Design: Tim Daniel
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.50

Previously in Bedlam: Ten years after being reformed, Fillmore Press a.k.a. Madder Red is now living on his own and adjusting to life. A new serial killer has popped up, sparking Fillmore’s interest. After one of the latest victims shows up dismembered and tied to a horse outside of his house, Fillmore gives himself up to the police.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

This issue continues the pattern of both seeing into Madder Red’s past and the present as he attempts to help the police catch a killer. The first three pages show the curing of Madder Red’s sick impulses, this time giving him a cat in hopes of forming a companionship. Things don’t go well for the cat…cats actually. The rest of the book is Fillmore helping with the case of murders (which he confessed to) and the revelations he has.

The reaction that Matthew gets when he sees violence towards children is very similar to my reaction of violence towards animals. Seeing the murder of people in various media has no effect on me (that’s a little worrisome, I know), but if there is any harm to animals, I immediately get an unpleasant feeling. The first three pages of the issue got that reaction as Madder Red takes glee in killing, disemboweling and mutilating numerous felines until, finally, on day ninety-seven, he cozies up to one. I understand the point Spencer was trying to make with this scene, but what bothered me was the comical tone in the way the it played out. I will admit, this might not be the intent, but that’s the feeling I got and it didn’t sit well. Other than that, the rest of the issue is good, although not the same quality as the previous two. While Fillmore is in custody for admitting to the recent murders (which he didn’t commit) he is allowed to view the body of a victim and peruse homicide files, all in the cause of helping the police. This was a bit far fetched, as I find it incredibly hard to believe that someone who admitted to multiple homicides would even be considered to do such things. Yes, detective Acevedo is believes he is the culprit the whole time and even goes so far as beginning to lock Fillmore up, but the willingness to trust someone as disturbed as he didn’t sit right. While the story continues to be good, this issue was lacking in tension the previous ones had. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of this before; killer helps catch a killer because they both think alike, police are wary of trusting said killer, etc. Spencer tells his story well, but nothing helped make this issue unique (save the first three pages). Still the ending, which promises a meeting between Fillmore and his former arch-nemesis The First, looks promising.

DEVILISH ART

Riley Rossmo continues the quality established in the first two issues. The flashback section only showing the color red and the scratchy, watercolor like style are all here. Unfortunately, I feel his talents are a little wasted here as he illustrates a typical police/mystery story. There are points where he shines, such as the murder of the elderly man by our favorite penis-less, winged killer (that’s two reviews in a row I’ve had to use the word penis. Both Image books too, go figure…). The art is still a great match with Spencer’s writing, dark and twisted, but like the story this issue, nothing special happening.

BOTTOM LINE: NOT AS GOOD AS THE FIRST TWO

Make no mistake Bedlam is a great comic. Spencer and Rossmo together are telling a twisted tale of someone evil attempting to stop evil. This issue unfortunately is a little by the numbers, giving us something that’s been seen before, thus leaving a bland taste. The quality of Spencer’s writing makes this book worth a read, but after two stellar issues, this one is a let down. The cliffhanger looks to be throwing a wrench into the works, so here’s hoping things take an unexpected turn. Bedlam #3 gets 3 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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