Saturday, 30 July 2016

Bedlam, Volume 1 Review (Nick Spencer, Riley Rossmo)

10 years ago Madder Red terrorised the city of Bedlam before he was stopped by superhero The First. Now, a new serial killer is in town and a reformed Madder Red decides to help the cops catch him - but does he secretly have a different agenda? 

Bedlam is sort of a look at the man behind the Joker (represented here by Madder Red) - who made the Joker who he is? Was he always evil or was he made to be evil? Unlike the Joker though, Madder Red gets better (I’m ignoring the godawful Batman: Going Sane book!) which is a shame because the only interesting part of this snorefest was when he was going nuts and slaughtering people. 

It’s also a very unsatisfying and unimaginative analysis of psychopaths - the mad scientist done made him crazy with his brain experiments! - so it doesn’t even do a good job of exploring its central theme, let alone tell an entertaining story. The “serial killer helping the police catch another serial killer” premise is clich├ęd and unoriginal at this point (I get it, you saw The Silence of the Lambs too) and The First is a terrible name for a superhero who’s also written and designed incredibly blandly. 

The comic is overly gory for no real reason besides desperate shock value, the increasingly less engaging story dragged on and on as it progressed until my brain was waving a white flag, and the book was overwritten like most of Nick Spencer’s comics with far too many redundant word balloons and captions on too many pages. Nick, GET A FUCKING EDITOR! 

The Frazer Irving covers are great and the premise is cool, if very poorly executed, but Bedlam is unfortunately a boring mess of a read.

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