Madius Comics’ anthology returns with its fourth issue. I’ve grown to really enjoy this anthology as its replaced Dark Horse Presents in my reading rotation (DHP, has dipped a lot lately). What’s nice about this anthology is that it tends to have a mixture of one-shot stories and continuous stories. The first story which is one third of the issue is called “The Forebearer.” At first this story of a Conan-esque character seems like a comedy. The narration has a comedic focus to it that plays well with the black and white visuals. Soon though, it turns into a strangely emotional story as our main character’s motivation is different from most towering husks of muscle that carry a sword. This strange mixture of elements actually works quite well together and has a balanced feel. I also found more than one scene incredibly funny. The art is detailed, but with a 90s eye for design. It works for the story though and was very humorous when the story called for it to be.
The second story is a bit Mad Max inspired which is a tired idea at this point. It’s not even because of the new movie, it’s just a tired idea that seems to inspire stories over and over. The slight difference here is that there’s a bit of Tank Girl in the inspiration as well. We meet some dudes on the run from some other dudes and they’re forced to call the Valkyrie. She’s a woman with a Mohawk and two skulls covering her booby bits. The story is okay. What didn’t work for it was the exact thing that worked for “The Forebearer”, the narration. It’s all serious for the most part, but then it suddenly starts cracking jokes and it felt to similar to the previous story, but not as strong. Simply put it needed a different narrative voice and style to make it stand out. The art was the best of the issue. Clean and thick line work. It looked good in black and white, but it could easily be colored as well. The Valkyrie had an iconic design and from the looks of it this story will continue.
The last third of the book is the one story that’s been ongoing since the first issue and that’s “Profits of Doom.” In this chapter of the story we learn all about the demon that was released, what it’s goals are and how to stop it. That’s if the guys can stop fighting and get along long enough to listen. The story continues to be funny, especially since the characters are so average beneath their cult cloaks. The art continues to improve ever so slightly from chapter to chapter. You can really see it in the details and the backgrounds.
If you like anthologies, then you should definitely grabbed Papercuts and Inkstains. It’s short compared to a lot of other anthologies, but it delivers great stories because of this. It doesn’t need filler or reprints to make its page count because that’s not the concern. Instead it spends its time filling its pages with stories you want to read.
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Papercuts and Inkstains #4 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Madius Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: Format: Anthology; Print/Digital Website