Bedlam Engages Horrible Crimes Artfully

Bedlam #1 introduces Madder Red as a deeply disturbed former villain seeking to atone for his crimes. Bedlam is published by Image Comics, and the first issue is available for free digital download (link found below).

The “anti-hero seeking redemption” motif is hardly new to comics. However, Bedlam explores many of the darker elements of human nature in a way to deeply engage the reader. Madder Red’s story line explores the mental health issues that droves him to commit his crimes, the criminal justice system that attempts to contain him, and society’s attempts to protect itself from him.

Given recent events, I would not suggest this publication for everyone. Bedlam #1 opens with the massacre of a class of young children on a field trip. This opening taps not only the terror of the recent school shootings in Connecticut, but also the massacres that etched themselves deeply into the psyches of those of us who came of age in the late 90s. This theme is not to be trifled with. Broaching such a deeply disturbing subject requires great artistic and story telling skill. However, if done well, engaging such issues via comics can go far in advancing the social dialog surrounding them.

It should be noted that Bedlam #1 was published well before the recent tragedy in Connecticut. It is a very sad fact that such events are a terrible possibility in our society. Bedlam does not turn away from the very real horrors of violent crime. Instead, the artists engage the issues to help us better understand the criminals and ourselves.


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