3A offers a trio of standalone tales. The first, A Roll of the Dice, is a caper that takes place in the Wild West, as a disgruntled saloon owner plans to bring down the huge gambling den that is taking his, and the town’s, money. It's an anarchic cross between Ocean’s Eleven and The Magnificent Seven that is a joy to read. The third tale, Slaycation, is equally as good, offering a delightful twist on the ‘teens go to a cabin on holiday and get killed’ genre, one that means you'll never look at your elderly neighbours in the same light again. The highlight, and a story that turns the quality up to eleven, is Vampire Wonderland. Fantastic artwork and a suitably sparse script put the reader right in the action; it's great to see vampires as scary as they're supposed to be, but there's still room for an injection of that trademark Madius wit, and a terrific twist at the end.
3B kicks off with Future Shock-style story FPS, giving a soldier’s perspective of an interplanetary war. While the twist may not come as too much of a surprise to comic veterans, it's a successful balance of humour and observation on the nature of conflict. The Perplexity, Madius’s first venture into the realm of superheroes, is a strange yet engrossing tale that toys with the preconceptions of the genre, an interesting offering that we hope to see more of. Finally, the Profits of Doom are back. These suburban cultists are as inept as ever, well on their way to accidentally destroying the world as we know it and providing a few belly laughs on the way.
Having double the amount of stories hasn't halved the quality, instead proving that the comic itself and the Madius team are getting stronger with every issue. If they keep going like this, Papercuts and Inkstains will reach the heights it deserves, and be talked about in the same breath as 2000 AD and other British greats.
PAPERCUTS AND INKSTAINS #3 / WRITERS: ROB JONES, MIKE SAMBROOK / ARTISTS: ANGELA SPRECHER, PAUL MOORE, ROSIE PACKWOOD / PUBLISHER: MADIUS COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW