Scouring The Shelves

It is always a pleasure when a good comic leaves you with that pensive feeling; where you put down the magazine and simply retreat into one’s own thoughts. Even if they are a little nebulous and ill defined.

The first issue of Bedlam from Image Comics may well still be found on the shelves, and it offers a veritable delight of crime waves, psychosis, hungry reporters and no short amount of blood. Fairly standard ingredients to many a thriller, but the writer Nick Spencer slowly reveals a city that has been plagued by a genius serial killer who may or may not have been captured.

The killer offers the city a choice – kill him within the hour, and multiple bombs implanted in schools around the city will never explode. Or to be more specific, bombs implanted in the school children themselves. Which rather tells you the depths of depravity this guy will sink to.

And the fact this is hardly a family-friendly read. Parents beware!

All the Warren Ellis-esque trappings aside, this story raises many great issues about the nature of the society we live in, and the compromises we all make balancing our freedoms against societal needs. In the mean time, we are not even sure if the killer is truly dead, nor what form of psychosis (if any) drove him.

The highlight of the issue for me has to be an impassioned plea by one of the city’s councilmen, in the face of a hostile and incredulous press corps as the city attempted to celebrate its triumph over the man that had shrouded the city in a cloak of fear.

We see a well thought out declaration of the difference between a man and his myth, which in the light of yesterday’s election is only too relevant. Where what we expect and what we fear can be a world away from the reality of a situation; and how our beliefs can stand in the way of just getting on with the day to day business of living.

I said I put the comic down at the end, but to be honest, it was every few pages, and the issue raised so many questions within the story as much as in the real world, that I cannot wait for the next instalment.

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Darren Burr

A devoted follower of the comics industry and their characters since a child, Darren now plays in many media but always returns to characters in skin-tight costumes beating each other up on the page. Radio host, blogger, fanfic author and producer of You Tube content, Darren idles away his days until his digital conquest of the world is complete.

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