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Review – Bedlam #1

If you’ve been on Twitter or various comic forums, you’d think Bedlam #1 was the second coming of (insert greatest comic here). The comic, written by Nick Spencer is good, a solid beginning, but nowhere matches the hype machine surrounding it.

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.

You might know Spencer from his attempt to recreate Lost in comic book form with Morning Glories or the coolness of Bond with the first story arc of Thief of Thieves. In Bedlam #1, Spencer attempts to combine the two series, with mixed results. I want to like the first issue, but it’s disjointed story telling and attempt to be too cute with it’s plotting leaves me putting it down feeling like it was puzzle pieces shoved together, from different puzzles. What should be a straight forward story, turns into a narrative jumble like Morning Glories. Both comics suffer from “too smart for their own good’ syndrome. By attempting to be too cool, it falls short.

My issue is the jumping around in time. It’s hard to figure out exactly what’s going on, and instead feels like jump backwards, forwards and sideways without a strong flow. What’s weird is, it sets up a lot, including one of the more interesting new characters this year.

The art by Riley Rossmo is fantastic, capturing the madness of Press in a style that’s engaging. It’s a perfect example of art matching the story.

Bedlam #1 is an issue that aims high and attempts to do a lot in the first issue in an interesting way. Even with an extended issue, it just doesn’t succeed for me. I’m sure once the first arc is over, it’ll be made better by the whole, but, on it’s own I feel like it could of been so much more.

Story: Nick Spencer Art: Riley Rossmo Cover: Frazer Irving

Story: 6.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided a FREE copy to Graphic Policy for review.