Madius Comics are back with lead writers Rob Jones and Mike Sambrook at the helm, as they weave wacky words of wonder alongside a trio of incredibly talented illustrators to bring us the latest instalment of their anthology series ‘Papercuts and Inkstains’ issue 4.
The first story in this comic is a tale oddly inspired by the rock band Marillion called ‘The Forebearer,’ written by Rob Jones and Mike Sambrook and illustrated by the extraordinarily skilled Madius newcomer Darren Smith.
The strip follows Hogarth, a barbarian travelling through an ancient wasteland on a blood-chilling quest for revenge.
From the opening we are transported into a realm of fallen warriors and fierce beasts by the power of Darren Smith’s pen. It would be easy to assume from the fantastical monochrome artwork and foreboding narrative that the reader will be treated to a dark fantasy adventure from the pages of a gothic poem. But the false sense of security is soon broken as the narrative is sharply injected with a dose of Madius satire.
Jones and Sambrook have pulled off a marvellous stunt in creating a story that could have easily been a standard two-dimensional fantasy yarn and enhanced it with a third dimension of humour that makes us laugh all the way to its absurd cliffhanger ending.
The second strip in this title ‘Fight of the Valkyrie’ is a dystopian thrill-ride from the creative minds of Jones and Sambrook with artwork by Jim Lavery.
From its first pages the post-apocalyptic story bears a striking resemblance to the movie ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and could be easily interpreted as a smart parody of the 2014 blockbuster and it’s lack of backstory.
However a less analytical reader might see it as Madius’s version of a bad-ass action comic with all the cars, motorbikes and profanity that any Vin Diesel fan could wish for. Jones and Sambrook’s irrepressible comedic timing is perfectly complemented by Jim Lavery’s outstanding art that would be at home within the pages of 2000 AD.
Whether ‘Fight of the Valkyrie’ is a delightful Mad Max pastiche or a dystopian thriller remains to be seen, but either way Sambrook, Jones and Lavery have left the reader hungry for the next instalment.
In the final tale of this issue the reader is thrown headfirst into the chaotically hilarious world of the ‘Profits of Doom.’
The reader catches up with the lovable group of daft druids as they plan a strategy to bring down their demonic enemy, with the help of an idiosyncratic bookshop proprietor who has a vast knowledge of black magic.
This instalment is a well-written and exquisitely drawn strip that showcases all of Madius’s unique qualities as the backstory grows. The amount of hilarious dialogue to be found in nearly every panel is consistently memorable as the plot moves forward to its next quirky arc.
The latest ‘Profits of Doom’ yarn shows that Sambrook, Jones and Smith know these characters inside out and have calculated each twist and turn within this wacky saga.
Congratulations to Rob Jones, Mike Sambrook and their many collaborators on creating yet another diverse issue of ‘Papercuts and Inkstains’ that will continue to keep readers amused and enthralled.