Day #125: Bedlam (Image Comics)

Bedlam-001-COV-web

Bedlam | Image Comics

Nick Spencer | Riley Rossmo

Synopsis:

[From Image Comics:] 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.

My take:

 Between this and Ex Sanguine, I seem to be on a bit of a ‘series I wish were still going’ kick at the moment. Huh.

So, yes: Bedlam only had an eleven issue run, and is now on (most likely permanent) hiatus as its creators are working on other projects (if my reading of the situation is correct). If that were to put you off it at the outset, that would be perfectly understandable.

I do think that Bedlam still has something to offer though, with its Sherlock-Holmes-meets-Dexter-meets-Batman style of storytelling. Of course, this blend of styles also brings with it some obvious issues.

 On the positive side, Bedlam does a great job of bringing the high camp and dark humour of a world where superheroes and supervillains exist. This is particularly (if unsurprisingly) true of the flashbacks to Fillmore’s past as Madder Red; but it’s also reflected in the types of crimes that he encounters after he’s been cured. It’s all about creativity and drama, rather than about being realistic.

No, this is no place for realism – and that could be the greatest weakness of Bedlam. Perhaps because of its short run, there’s little opportunity for Fillmore to seem like he’s being truly challenged. This means that even the wackiest of stories (which is pretty much all of them) are wrapped up with a degree of ease that, for some, could fall flat. It also means that while there’s a lot of opportunity to see Fillmore’s development as a character (what with it being an integral part of the plot, and all), the same can’t really be said of those around him, or the world in which they exist.

It’s to the credit of Nick Spencer and Riley Rossmo that, even in what feels like a very truncated version of the concept behind Bedlam, there’s still enough to entertain – and intrigue. I do hope that they pick up the series and continue it, someday.

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