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Bedlam #3 – Review

BEDLAM #3

By: Nick Spencer (writer), Riley Rossmo (art), Jean-Paul Csuka (colors) and Kelly Tindall (letters)

The Story: A reformed Madder Red starts to help the police.

Review: This was a frustrating comic because it has teases of real excellence that get clouded in the execution.

Let’s start with how the glass is half full…

  •  Great art in places: The opening sequence of the comic that shows Madder Red murdering cats in his hospital room is the type of raw art I want from Riley Rossmo.  He is an artist that looks better without a colorist because his linework is so rough and visceral.  I love how he leaves his characters slightly roughed out and you can almost still see the erased pencils from the wireforms of these people.  THIS art reminds me of the guy who drew Proof and Cowboy Ninja Viking.
  • Unafraid story telling: Any comic that is unafraid to be transgressive gets massive points from me.  It isn’t so much that doing things for pure shock value is good, but by starting the story with a sequence of Madder Red killing 20-odd cats, Spencer and Rossmo have demonstrated the potential limits of the story.  When you consume fiction, you kinda know that certain things are off-limits: Batman will not die, no animal movie ever ends with all the doggies getting euthanized at the pound by the evil dog-catcher, etc.  With Bedlam we know that the creators are willing to kill children and kitty-cats and that the main serial killer has removed his own penis (remember that in Silence of the Lambs, Wild Bill just tucked it between his legs…).  At that point, I’m not sure anything is off-limits for this story.

But, the glass is also half-empty… Continue reading

Bedlam #2 – Review

BEDLAM #2

By: Nick Spencer (writer), Riley Rossmo (art), Jean-Paul Csuka (colors) and Kelly Tindall (letters)

The Story: In which we learn that Madder Red’s reformation may be a part of a larger plot.

Quick review: This issue was a little disappointing.  It wasn’t in any way “bad”, but it lacked the snap of Issue #1 and failed to live up to that issue’s promise.  What made that first issue so special was the deeply demented nature of the central character: he was murdering lots of people and even after reforming, he was doing weird stuff like licking the barrel of a mugger’s revolver.  Madder Red was just really creepy!  That issue never missed a chance to be weird and because of that, we paid very close attention.

In this issue we slow way, way down.  Most of the scenes are of the “talking heads” variety as we start to learn more about what might be going on with Madder Red and why he is “reforming”.  It just wasn’t as memorable.
Continue reading

Bedlam #1 – Review

By: Nick Spencer (writer), Riley Rossmo (art), Jean-Paul Csuka (colors) and Kelly Tindall (letters)

The Story: A maniacal mass murderer goes kinda straight.

A few things (with minor SPOILERS): 1). Very creepy and unsettling - I don’t know about you, but I’ve been exposed to too many types of media to be easily unsettled.  I guess I’m just desensitized.  But, this was a very eerie comic book and it all stems from the nasty/creepy main character.  In this issue, Spencer and Rossmo introduce us to a horrible serial killer named Madder Red.  He’s just freaky as all hell.  When we first meet him, he’s in the middle of a horrible killing spree involving dead kids and the horror continues throughout the issue as we alternate between seeing his crimes and following him has he (perhaps) tries to recover.  It’s a great example of creators really using the medium of comics to its fullest.  The concept and the words for Madder Red are horrifying, but when that combines with the visual of his creepy death-mask and odd body shape it really goes to another level of unsettling.  Even the red word balloons are a nasty touch.  From he first scene, you are pulled into the story.  Very nicely done!
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