The latest chapter in Vince Hunt's grin-inducing sci-fi action comedy The Red Mask From Mars blasted through our digital letterbox and demanded our full attention, which is just as well, as issue 3 is the most intense instalment of the saga I've read so far, but admittedly, it does come with a little baggage. We left ex-astronaut-turned-superhero Doug tangoing with an army of armoured shark aliens that had burst through from below the Earth's surface (I remember now why I keep loving this comic...). At the same time, a vast, menacing-looking egg (did I just write that?) looms upon our motley band of heroes, including dopey sidekick Munroe who finds himself trapped in a self-creating protective dome radiating from the egg. I mean, it's pretty obvious by now that I can't do this comic justice. You'll just have to experience it yourself, and trust me, The Red Mask From Mars isn't just something you read, it's something you most certainly experience! This third chapter in "The Prince of Doom" dispenses with the sense of enveloping mystery from #2 and instead goes for a full-throttle level of intensity. As further characters join the adventure, including the dimension-hopping Agent Colsen-esque entity that is Henderson Wulf, all hell breaks loose as the space-shark invasion takes quite a personal turn. Without spoiling things for you, let's just say the egg and Munroe become a dynamic duo, in more ways than one. Something I've been loving about The Red Mask From Mars since #1 has been the colourful, spry sense of reckless adventure and wise-cracking humour, which seems to have been cranked up a few unexpected notches. There are several little moments where Hunt displays his knack for creating neat bursts of comedic flash that have a curious sense of warmth to them. There's swearing, and there's violence, but more than anything there's a hook-laden feeling of fun to this comic, it's proving to be a joy to read, and #3 is carrying that sense of fun through perfectly. Ultimately though, #3 has so much emphasis on expanding Wulf's character, further space-shark action, and a climax that finally gives The Red Mask From Mars the sense of danger we've been waiting for since #1, that Doug himself sadly doesn't get an awful lot to do here. #1 had me believing that as this series progressed, we'd see plenty more from Doug in terms of vigorous action and character development (I'd LOVE to see how he got that alien mask on his face anyway, maybe his Rik Mayall-type antics got him into trouble with Ridley Scott perhaps?). Here were are at #3, and although I've thrilled in witnessing Doug unleash plenty of whoop-ass on these space-sharks, I get the feeling we haven't progressed all that further from #1 in terms of Doug's own character. However, I also get the feeling that The Red Mask From Mars isn't made for such nit-picking. I digressed in my review of #1 how this comic made no pretence in disguising the fact that it's a sugar-fulled rush, lampooning many sci-fi tropes with an offbeat British charm. Although I am disappointed that we don't get to see Doug dish out his usual brand of quip-filled fisticuffs (which are indeed waaay more entertaining that almost anything Joss Whedon has done), as a halfway point for this series, #3 is most satisfactory on its own merits. The action and comedy are all here as I'd hoped, the stakes are now higher than before, and we've finally got a main villain for Doug to grapple with. With just two more issues to go, The Red Mask From Mars' enveloping sense of Saturday morning cartoon pleasure can only aim for the stars. I feel like this issue might have worked better if it were part of a collected edition, but it does get me excited for what the finale might bring. Plus, I really do hope The Red Mask From Mars gets a collected edition anyway, this comic book is too much of a blast on the U.K. indie comics scene for it to be missed out on! Vince Hunt is launching #3 of The Red Mask From Mars this Saturday (the 6th) at the Bristol Comic Expo, where it will then be available from the comic's official website, which you can see here. Why not grab yourself a copy of #1 and #2 while you're there? Go on, you know you want to!