By Contributing Writer Brian Kamak
Bedlam #8 (Image): Religious mockery, a brain-skewering
execution, and the beating of a superhero, but that’s just the first three
pages. Bedlam’s first few issues were hard to read, full of too many plot
twists, and lacked a solid direction. But that was the pasty, and issue #8 is
nothing short of a quality read.
Fast-forward from the opening three page flashback and we’re
greeted with a most unlikely crime-solving duo, Detective Acevedo, an average
detective who happened to notice the crime-solving brilliance of the second,
one Fillmore Press. Regular readers know that Fillmore is not your average
run-of-the-mill sleuth; he’s the reformed homicidal maniac Madder Red. Due to
his psychosis and violent past, Fillmore is able to examine crimes with a
Hannibal Lecter-like perspective.
The setting is a post-“terrorist” blast point, one of
several that just occurred. Ryan Browne’s art perfectly captures the brutality
of the blast through the depiction of both the injured and deceased victims.
Fillmore is quick to make the connection between the blasts, specifically that
there is no connection. One of the “terrorists” is apprehended and the
ultra-modern dynamic duo begin their interrogation.
Frazier Irving’s cover is nicely done, but it doesn’t
process in the mind of a reader who hasn’t read this particular issues. I wish
he’d done something different to set the title apart and grab the attention of
a potential new reader, something a bit more edgy to bring in their $3.50. Nick
Spencer’s script flows seamlessly, giving the characters depth and a certain
level of believability, even within the confines of a comic book world. The
interior art has perfect synergy to the story. Ryan Browne’s use of black,
white, and red in the opening flashback adds an eerie feeling while maintaining
a playful amount of cyclical brutality. I find Jean-Paul’s use of pastels
especially ironic in such a harshly drawn world of savagery and a boldly drawn,
chiseled cast. Attention to facial structure is well done, leaving finer
details left up to the reader’s imagination. By no means are the characters
ever presented with the dapper presence of Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne, rather
the kind of face you’d unknowingly pass on the street on a daily basis.
Other twists in this story include a mother/son political
game, and a huge supernatural presence. The series’ catch phrase “Is Evil
Something You Are Or Something You Do?” always makes me wonder about the creative
team behind the book. “Are Great Comics Something You Are Or Something You
Spend Countless Hours Upon Hours Doing?” I don’t want to waste any more space;
just go out and get this fucking awesomely disturbing book and thank me later.