The Madius Comics train keeps on rolling with Papercuts & Inkstains #4 and once again, it's good to be on board. Things feel a little bit different this time, as all three stories have a definite sense of continuity to them, although the cover proclaims that the two newcomers are here for ‘tonight only’.
The first story The Forebearer, is an absolute gem, featuring the barbarian Hogarth son of Fugazi. It goes beyond tongue in cheek, poking it right through and giving a wiggle; without giving anything away, it’s a humorous take on a traditional fantasy quest, presented with a narration that is laugh-out-loud funny. Anyone recognising the source of the character name is in for a treat hunting down further references, while those who don't will still have a great strip to read. The art, by newcomer Darren Smith, is wonderful, bringing so much life to the tale that it feels like the characters are leaping out of the page.
Valkyrie is a Mad Max style tale of fast cars and violent women, reminiscent of early Tank Girl, although it's far from being a pale imitation. It succeeds in challenging the tropes of the genre, while also simultaneously treating them with affection. Again, the script brings a hefty share of laughs, and Jim Lavery’s art adds suitable chaos to the proceedings. Like The Forebearer, there's a hint of more to come and, given that both of these strips have such stunning debuts, it would be a shame for them not to continue.
Profits of Doom – thus far the only ongoing strip – completes the issue, continuing apace as the inept cultists struggle to get rid of the foul creature tearing their town apart. It's as ridiculous as ever, with some one-liners that will have readers laughing or blushing, depending on their disposition, making it a mixture of farce and horror that works superbly. Mike Smith’s artwork has gone from strength to strength on this story, and long may it continue.
All in all, another great package, with the writing double act of Jones and Sambrook ensuring the laughs are plentiful. Continuing from a great 2015, work like this should see the Madius star rise even higher in 2016. There’s more than promise on offer here; the talent is incredible and the love and care for their creations is obvious, with the near trademark wicked humour evident on every page and making this a delight to read.
PAPERCUTS & INKSTAINS #4 / AUTHORS: ROB JONES, MIKE SAMBROOK / ARTISTS: DARREN SMITH, JIM LAVERY, MIKE SMITH / PUBLISHER: MADIUS COMICS / RELEASE DATE: 21ST FEBRUARY