Review – Bedlam #2

Bedlam issue 2 cover Bedlam #2

Story By Nick Spencer

Art by Riley Rossmo

Covers by Frazer Irving

Publisher Image Comics

Released: 11/28/12

Verdict: While it’s not as good as issue one, this is still a good book and shaping up to be a great series. It’s well worth your time to read this and see what unfolds.

The first issue of Bedlam was really good, a little long, but it worked. It did exactly what an opening issue should do, make you want to know what the hell is going on. I’ve read that first issue twice, and I’m still not 100% sure I know what happened. The same thing goes for issue two, while not quite as gripping as issue one, it kept me wondering. Pieces in the story started to make more sense, and the timeline became more clear. The issue was lacking a certain something though. The first issue was pretty full, lots of things going on, lots of jumping around. This issue, not so much it was much more linear.

It’s hard to believe that a book suffered for being easier to follow, but I think what made the first issue so good was that you had to really think about it, and maybe read it twice to pick up on what was happening. The opening of Bedlam #2 started introducing new characters, and I wasn’t really sure if this was in the past the way the first issue started, before Madder Red went on that killing spree. Or if it was happening in the present, or what I’m assuming is the present anyway. It honestly played out like a horror movie, two friends meet have some coffee and then things go horrible. The funny thing is, while I say it played out like a horror movie, I didn’t expect anything to happen. Well I didn’t expect what happened to happen. . .

But that’s just the opening of the issue, the meat of this one is about Fillmore, the crazy guy who’s on some kind of medication and licks guns that are pointed at him. We know he wasn’t in the best condition when the last issue ended, he’d been shot twice, though he egged it on to presumably save a kid. And he made a call to the police telling them he could help solve a murder. This issue picks up from there, Fillmore traveling with two gunshot wounds and eventually passing out. He wakes up in a bed, having been bandaged up, and we proceed to learn he’s not just crazy, he’s cult crazy. Not that he’s in a cult, not that we’ve been privy to yet anyway, but he’s that caliber of insane. He’s ‘taken care of’ by a doctor, who appears to have some kind desire to see Fillmore not be dead, I think.

I’m not sure why it’s so interesting but it is, that’s not even the whole story. I want to know what’s Fillmore’s deal, If you started with issue one you know part of it, but I need the details man. This is shaping up to be a story for people who like mysteries and trying to piece things together. I’ve read a lot of books that Nick Spencer has written, and he’s great at the long form story. He sets up so many things at the beginning and just leaves them dangling, waiting till just the right time to drop a bomb on the whole story. I love that kind of story telling, it’s what made me want to read Bedlam, I know who Spencer tends to write and it keeps me coming back for more. One thing I wasn’t expecting to really like was the art. I’d seen the promo stuff and it looked interesting, but Riley Rossmo does a great job when you’re reading the whole story. The use of color, or lack thereof, helps to give you the idea that a lot of people in the book are completely unhinged. And the use of the color Red, especially in those black and white pages is great.

One big problem with the issue though, we don’t see any more Madder Red stuff, we see him in brief flashes, but no more history on him. I think that’s one of the best parts of the first issue, we see this monster, and what happens to him. But we don’t see how he got to that level, or any of the in between from the theater to the. . .well I don’t want to say, but if you’ve read the books you’ll know what I’m talking about. Hopefully this won’t be one of those bits of story Spencer leaves dangling for a dozen issues before finally telling us, I think I may end up as crazy as Fillmore if that happens.

With the big scene at the end of Bedlam #2, things are not looking so good for Fillmore. Issue 3 will hopefully pick up where this one left off, and we’ll be able to see what the hell he was thinking. In the meantime, if you’re not reading Bedlam yet, get out there and start, I’m sure you can find the first two issues. One thing to keep in mind, this is definitely not for children, lots of graphic stuff happening that would probably freak them out. Adults though, you should be able to handle this, and if not you probably shouldn’t be reading comics anyway.

talks a bunch on PodQuest each week. He's also been known to write about stuff from time to time.

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