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Bedlam is the most promising new series of the year.

Bedlam is the most promising new series of the year.
"Bedlam" proves to be most promising series this year.

“Bedlam” proves to be most promising series this year.

“Bedlam”  Volume One, Issue #1-6

Written by Nick Spencer

Art by Riley Rossmo

Published by Image Comics

Image has made quite a name for themselves within the past few years, especially with the exploding popularity of their flagship series, “The Walking Dead”. However, there those few gems that sometimes are pushed by the wayside and are almost completely overshadowed, and one of those gems is Nick Spencer’s disturbing tale “Bedlam,” a story that tries to answer the question: “Is evil something you are, or something you do?”

How Spencer answers this question is through the character of ex-madman/serial killer genius Fillmore Press aka Madder Red, who Spencer describes as “a serial killer and criminal overlord who terrorized the city of Bedlam”. Spencer goes on to describe that, “Something happened, he got better…when we first meet Fillmore, he’s living in a small, run-down studio apartment on the wrong side of town. It’s a far cry from the murderous glamour of his old life. Where he was once an almost ubiquitous symbol of the city, he seems far removed from the action now, unrecognized and unnoticed without his mask and with the passage of time. That, obviously, ain’t gonna last for long.” As the story progresses, Fillmore Press begins to start craving to help people, and how he decides to do so is to help the Bedlam Police Force to track down the city’s most notorious and theatrical psychopath since, well, himself.

All through the story, there are hints that Press is leading towards something more diabolical, sensing that his ego and reputation might be tarnished by this new freak on the streets, which might be interesting to watch unfold if Press starts to lead back to his old, filthy habits.

But where the true heart and soul lies is in the sheer willingness to go where most other stories won’t dare to go, reaching towards the darkest places of imagination, which may cause the most horrifying nightmares for some of it’s readers; and this is all perfectly complemented by the raw, gruesome and sketchy artwork of Riley Rossmo (Green Wake, Cowboy Ninja Viking) which brings this violent world into the realm of the both the real and the fantastical. The characters are iconic in their look, especially in the look of Madder Red, who resembles a sort of horrifying mix between Scarecrow and Jason Voorhees.

The only gripe the series has is that of the “hero”, The First, as in the first responder. This character is tended to echo every other great superhero, but this is probably the most dull character in the whole series, yet the reader is shown this character so much that it drags the story along, taking away the real-world tension this series has. This character is also given so many chances to finally end his storyline, but yet he still prevails. Hopefully there will be a point where this character will be let go, heroically or violently, so the story can focus more on the titillating protagonist.

There is so much hope for this series, with the brilliant writing and disturbing artwork; it’s all a recipe to create something that should be on the forefront of comic stores everywhere. If you are someone looking for a fresh story and not necessarily squeamish, then this series is right up your alley.

– Will Cowan