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Chin Music #1 Review

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Chin Music #1 Review 

Writing:  Steve Niles

Art: Tony Harris

Review by Melissa Megan

Apparently, Chin Music is about a guy named Shaw who can leap through time and possesses supernatural powers. He’s on the run from some other creepy dudes who also have powers, like tearing his skin from his bones. Apparently he has landed in Prohibition era Chicago and must now contend with the local police, gangsters and the supernatural underground. I say apparently because Image Comics tells me that this is what’s happening in Chin Music, but to be perfectly honest I only understood about half of that premise reading through issue #1.

I hate to criticize Steve Niles at all because I really love pretty much everything he puts his pen to, but this introduction just didn’t connect with me, story wise. There’s a lot going on, but not all of it is clear. Granted, it’s a pilot issue, so there’s lots more story to tell and time to tell it. I have all the faith in the world that Niles will pull the plot together in future issues and that my confusion will disappear. Not being crystal on what’s going on in this issue doesn’t necessarily mean I didn’t enjoy it, however. It is action packed, moody, violent and spooky. I just don’t ‘get it’ yet.

The artwork by Tony Harris is brilliant here. It’s thick with atmosphere and very, very pretty. Some of the panels are framed in art deco borders, like intricate picture frames. This lends quite a bit of flourish to the pages and really helps set the retro style of the book. Harris’ characters all seem to have large, chunky facial features and knobby knuckles, but it’s less of a distraction than a style. I found his play with color and texture very pleasing to look at.

All in all, Chin Music seems like it could be a quality series. As long as the story isn’t too difficult to grasp, there’s a good idea here and some unique styling. I’ll definitely be keeping up with this one and am anxious to see Steve Niles develop it further.

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Review: Bedlam #5

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Writing: Nick Spencer

Art: Riley Rossmo

Review by Melissa Megan

After a few issues of watching Fillmore, formerly serial killer Madder Red, passionately assist the police department in working out the identity of a murderer with a thing for religious reference, issue #5 gives a little more of what Bedlam is really about: psychological fun time.

This issue opens with another flashback to the ‘healing’ of Madder Red, specifically a powerful scene in which he gains the hospital staff’s trust and proves himself ready to re-enter the world a new, less dangerous man. These peeks in to the treatment of Madder Red are what I feel really give Bedlam it’s gritty meat. I find myself increasingly invested in this character although I still can’t decide if I want to see him truly succeed and be a ‘productive, law-abiding citizen’ or if it would be more fun to watch him completely demolish those expectations in a blood bath of celebration for the return of Madder Red.

One thing is certain, this issue makes it clear that Fillmore is quite aware that he’s gaining the trust of Detective Acevedo and has secured himself the opportunity for a chat with an incarcerated priest suspected of being connected to, perhaps behind, the unsolved case. Fillmore has an agenda but if it’s purely to help bring the murderer to justice or something more sinister is yet unclear. What is crystal is that Bedlam is not slowing down but quietly gaining momentum and I suspect the next issue will reveal something juicy.

If you’re reading my reviews on Bedlam, you must be interested; if you aren’t already buying these books, what the hell are you waiting for? Bedlam is top notch material in the horror/suspense genre and the art work of Riley Rossmo is always a delight.

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