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Review – Papercuts & Inkstains #4 (Madius Comics)

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Publisher: Madius Comics
Writer(s): Robin Jones & Michael Sambrook
Artist(s): Darren Smith, Jim Lavery, Mike Smith
Release Date: 24th Feb 2016


I don’t do anthologies. I really don’t, well I didn’t between 1990 and 2016. Then I did a review for Papercuts and Inkstains 3a & 3b, so the clock on anthologies reset. Could I last another 26 years without doing an anthology? Nope like a flipping bus Papercuts and Inkstains #4 rolls up my street and looks at me with its big soulful eyes, and pleads, “read me”. And so the clock resets again but I don’t really mind. I don’t think I’ll try and break my 26-year record again.

So, as usual, the comic comes with 3 stories, two brand new entries and one continuation. The reviews are as follows.

Story #1: The Forebearer
This is a self-aware tale of Hogarth son of Fugazi, on a quest to rescue an item to remember his dead daughter Kayleigh by. I’ll leave the references there, but you might, or might not have noticed that this tale is built upon foundations built by Marillion. Jones and Sambrook have written a wily tale hidden in a simple shell, but unless you know a lot about the band, it might be a bit too clever (I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for Fish references). That being said, you could get away with knowing nothing and enjoy the tale for the comedic barbarian quest that it is. Darren Smith does a great job with the art, managing to make Hogarth look like the bastard offspring of Conan and Slaine (There would have to be some mystical thingummy jigging going on there). 3.5/5

Story #2: Valkyrie #01
Robin Jones, one of the writers (along with Michael Sambrook) reliably informed me that this was written before Mad Max: Fury Road hit the screens. I say that because, to follow a theme, Valkyrie feels very much the product of a romantic liaison between Mad Max and Tank Girl.

Jones and Sambrook tell this tale as if the 90’s never went away and Jim Lavery pencils their craziness with an inventive hand and deft panel work. Graphically, it’s a very well put together piece of work. Don’t expect a character study with this one, expect guns and cars and booms and bangs and shooms and kablams. Just take your brain down a couple of notches and enjoy some 90’s style nostalgia. 3.5/5

Story #3: Profits of Doom Part 4
This is the continuing tale of Mark, Reg, Colin, George and Keith. Five everyday guys, a hoary band of brothers, dressed in cowls, moving on from bringing on the end of times and trying to get the power of Bulgeroth back from that damned deer to saving world and getting the girl (well, George getting his wife back anyways).

Not going to go into too much in the way of story detail except to say, HOLY DIVER! FTW and Terry the keeper of books. Worth reading for these two things alone.

Jones and Sambrook keep the thread of the story going very well, and continue to develop the Prophets individual personalities, which is nice to see in a comedy. It adds depth and substance, and long term allows scope for even more humour of a personal nature.

Mike Smith’s art is probably at its best in this fourth instalment of the story. His work feels sharper, crisper, and when Terry starts with his exposition, Smith’s change of style is very well played. It’s amazing what some people can do with a few lines on the page. 5/5

It has to be said that Papercuts and Inkstains #4 is an entertaining issue. Profits of Doom remains the strongest work here, and whilst Forbearer and Valkyrie are fun tales, they don’t quite make it to the top branches of the Papercuts and Inkstains tree.

Overall Rating: 4/5.


You can grab yourself a copy of Papercuts & Inkstains #4, as well as the previous issues in the series (and all their other GREAT non P&I books) at the Madius Comics Online Store.


The writer of this piece was: John Wallace
John Tweets from @jmwdaredevil


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