Bedlam – Issue 1

25 Nov

Like gritty psychological stories? Like The Dark Knight? Like to see original artwork? Like orginal well-written stories? This may be the comic you’re looking for.

Bedlam starts with a shocking mass murder by a masked villain, followed by his apprehension by a caped crusader. From jail the villain Madder Red broadcasts a moral conundrum to citizens of Bedlam not dissimilar to the bombs in the hospital dilemma in The Dark Knight. In fact, Madder Red is extremely similar to that Joker, complete with dark humour and a fascination with bringing out the dark side of people.

This is where the story diverges. Bedlam alternates between the serial killer Madder Red and the man behind the Madder Red mask years later, Fillmore Press. Slightly crazed, yes, but rehabilitated? Maybe. We’ll see. The way the narrative jumps between the two is a little jarring but works really well, helping link the sadistic, intelligent killer to the unbalanced Fillmore. So far it seems that Bedlam will be a riff on some of the moral aspects seen in The Dark Knight, such as the nature of evil deeds.

That’s the story then, and I have to say it’s really well written. There’s a lot of dialogue and a lot to read, which is to my own tastes. In the wrong hands this could have been boring but I’ll say now that Nick Spencer is a really good writer.

As if that wasn’t enough to recommend this comic, the artwork is outstanding. It really fits with the characters and story. The Madder Red sections are moody black and white with red splashed here and there. Fillmore Press is drawn with rough pencil lines reflecting the character’s state of mind. Really great art, I can’t state this enough.

So far on my comics journey I’ve been reading some of the big two which is enjoyable enough but I have to say the creator-owned stories have a greater variety of art & story-telling.

Bedlam is a great first issue. Intelligently written, beautiful to look at and it comes in at double length for your money. Don’t miss it!

Rating: A

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