I’m very happy this week because there are a ton of books that I’m excited to read; to the point that I didn’t know which one to start with and which one to save for last. Bedlam returns with its second issue of the new arc and oh man is it good. I’ll tell you right now, the last page is fantastic! Not only does it leave you on an “oh, shit” moment, but it’s gorgeous as well. It’s also disturbing just so that you don’t read it for yourself and think I’m nuts when you think back to me saying “gorgeous.” I also appreciated that it wasn’t a true cliffhanger; sure there will be consequences from the panel dealt within the next issue, but it’s not like a new character appearing on the last page which is common place with most superhero titles. Look at me, rambling about the last page and I haven’t even told you anything about the issue. In that last issue (it’s funny because I’m still not telling you about this issue) we saw four people stand up and basically act as human bombs. They were like sleeper cell terrorists and the how’s and why’s of their actions aren’t known yet. Fillmore and Acevedo arrive at one of the blast sites and are filled in on the information. Acevedo wants to return Fillmore and begin helping, but he discourages her because he says there will be more. Acevedo begins looking for a pattern, but Fillmore continues to tell her that the chaos and random locations are the pattern.
They catch a break when they interview one of the survivors. You may remember him from the last issue as the bomber in the coffee shop. He has no clue that he’s the bomber and neither does Acevedo or Fillmore until they take him to check on the woman he was pathetically flirting with in the previous issue. She begins freaking when he enters her room and Acevedo takes him into custody.
This is a plot building issue. Not a lot happens outside of conversations that progress the plot forward while building the mystery of the newest arc. Who is the person responsible for everything? What’s the deal with the councilman and why does he care so much about the city? What’s up with his relationship with his mom? There are a lot of seeds planted in this issue making it very important, but it might not be as thrilling as previous issues. You just need to enjoy what’s there because it will enrich the future issues just as the first arc did.
Ryan Browne continues to be the prefect replacement for Riley Rossmo on this series. He’s definitely changed up his style since Smoke and Mirrors to better match what Rossmo was doing on the series and frankly it is working. Even if he slowly toned back the style I would continue to say that it works. He really captures the look and feel of the world and of Madder Red’s personality. Red’s personality doesn’t just lie in his dialog or actions, but in his body language as well. It took me two issues to place Browne, but now that I remember where I’ve seen his art I’m excited. He’s very talented and I’m very impressed with his work so far on the series and how versatile he is.
The last issue was really the best spot to jump on the series because the entire issue was built like a first issue or a new series, but Spencer has made sure to make this issue accessible to new readers as well. If you are curious about this series I would still go back and grab issue seven, but if you really only want to make a one issue commitment then go ahead and start here. Spencer does a fine job of recapping the events of the previous issue so it’s not like you’re going to struggle to figure out what’s happening in the issue. I can’t wait for the next issue it’s going to be good!
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Ryan Browne
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: 7/31/13