Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Riley Rossmo
Cover by Frazer Irving
Review by Joey Braccino
Bedlam #1 was an oversized bit of meta-thematic, creator-owned, reformed-villain(????) goodness. Nick Spencer and Riley Rossmo successfully constructed an entirely new mythos surrounding “rehabilitated” (shock quotes intended) super-psycho-villain Madder Red and his (mis)adventures in the city of Bedlam. Issue #2 picks up right where we left off last month, except with more absolutely twisted insanity.
Last issue ended with Fillmore Press (Madder Red’s psychologically damaged alter ego) shot and bleeding after saving a kid from two hoods. In flashback sequences, it’s revealed that a deranged character named The Good Doctor operated on Madder Red sometime between his terrorist attack on the Bedlam Opera House and the present day. Issue #2 further reveals that The Good Doctor is also the person responsible for Fillmore’s continuing “rehabilitation” effort. I won’t go into their conversations too much, as they are pretty twisted, but suffice it to say that Fillmore and The Good Doctor have a fascinatingly paternalistic relationship that complicates Fillmore’s attempts to “help.”
We also meet Officer Acevedo as Fillmore finally gets through to the police department to “help” and be the good guy. Of course, Fillmore’s mental state comes off as psychopathy and guilt to the firey Officer Acevedo, and it will be interesting to see these two finally interact face-to-face in coming issues.
Riley Rossmo’s artwork is stunning. The figurework and lay-outs are at once simplistic as well as sinister. The scratchy linework imbues the panels with the same feeling of anxiety and duress that Fillmore certainly feels in his fragile mental state. The opening sequence with two new characters—a twisted scene replete with gore, dismemberment, and wings—is tense and restless, thanks in part to Rossmo’s brilliant selection of sickly greens and pale peaches. Brilliant.
Check this series out. The aforementioned issue #1 is a fantastic, over-sized debut for Nick Spencer’s new creator-owned series, and #2 continues what should turn out to be a fascinating character study between good and evil. Fans of Spencer’s other work at Image (especially Morning Glories) should definitely pick this up, but fans of smart, well-developed comics ought to pick this one as well. Buy buy buy!