comiXology had the first issue of Bedlam (Image) for the low, low price of free. I’m a fan of supernatural stuff, and mayhem, and the BBC America import Bedlam so however they meant “Bedlam” I was willing.
I didn’t read the blurb before I read Bedlam and I’m glad for that because I jumped in head first and my mind was blown. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand timesjust write a book like Blake Northcott 2.
Initially the city of Bedlam (that’s why the name) is depicting the events of a terrible, horrible day ten years ago when Madder Red concluded a three year fictional villain-level crime spree with … well it was horrible and terrible and that didn’t really keep me from finding the character beyond hilarious and wonderful.
Okay, fine, let’s address the Bedlam blurb:
Fillmore Press was once Madder Red, a homicidal maniac and criminal overlord who terrorized the town of Bedlam for years. Then he got better. This is what happens next. A double-sized introduction to a blood-soaked cityscape of murder, mayhem, and mystery by NICK SPENCER (MORNING GLORIES, THIEF OF THIEVES) and RILEY ROSSMO (REBEL BLOOD, GREEN WAKE)!
Nick Spencer is not human. Tim Daniel (design) and (Riley Rossmo) is inception.
There’s this video of a kid opening his Christmas present and seeing it’s a Nintendo-64 then FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. Reading Bedlam #1, I had that feeling. I may have flailed with actual, unabridged glee.
Through the use of pure dialogue (no over the shoulder narration filling in blanks) and brilliant color choices (ten years ago is monochromatic with a red accent and present day is in color) their homicidal maniac is more engaging than any hero, villain, or character I can remember reading.
Madder Red has so much personality without being The Riddler in Batman Forever. He’s more like The Joker in The Dark Knight—he’s enjoyable and hateable for all the same reasons. I don’t want him to lose not because I agree with what he’s doing or why but because I want him on center stage for as long as possible.
Really? Sitting around in the filth of his mass murder playing cards with a little girl to pass the time?
Then shit gets weird.
Present day is in color, though not in a jarring way, and Madder Red is now the very disoriented (and still a bit mad), mask-free Fillmore Press and this is shaping up to be a crime nior or twisted buddy cop situation.
I don’t like crime as a genre but I don’t even care. I’d watch Fillmore Press, as written by Nick Spencer, designed by Tim Daniel, and illustrated by Riley Rossmo, try his hand at painting or substitute teaching or animal husbandry. I believe the book is that good.
Final Say on Bedlam #1:
I love it so hard I’d have children (which I hate) just so I could gift Nick Spencer, Riley Rossmo, and Tim Daniel my first born child (I’d only have the one so they’d either have to share, clone, or quarter it and give Jean-Paul Csuka (colors) a chunk).
[wpspoiler name=”Spoilers from Bedlam #1 I’m still wondering about:” ]
Why did those doctors rehabilitate him? They look like they belong in a Rob Zombie film so that probably accounts for half of it.
Where did The First go and why was he late? He’s mentioned in the memorial speech announcing Madder Red‘s “death” but just in passing like it was a nice breeze no one expected when he came or was surprised by when he left.
Did The First bring Madder Red to the doctors? He showed up and then some shmuck dies as Madder Red and The First is gone and maybe he really did save the day because that was just the last straw.
When was the last time he saw the doctors or is he currently staying with them in an institution-like place? Because the intercom/radio was saying his name (Because I didn’t read the blurb I thought when the radio said “Good morning, Fillmore,” it was because the name of the city was Fillmore—eventually I figured it out).
Was Fillmore hoping to get killed by the gangsters or is that just him being wackado?
Who told that guy posing as Madder Red what to say? He was a knuckle-dragging hired gun who suddenly could convincingly expound as a criminal genius?
LuLz, by the end of that exchange with the hoodlums, that kid was already gone.