Writers: Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl / Artist: Karl Kerschl, Mssasyk / Image Comics

An incredible flex of artistic muscle, Isola #4 is a majestic, thrilling read. It covers ground quickly, being another of the quieter issues of the series — relatively quiet, at least, when taking into consideration much of its dialogue is in a language we can’t read. There’s a lot to infer from foreign conversations, but even more from several dream sequences as Rook goes in and out of consciousness. She remembers her lover — the Queen — and the way she was transformed into the tiger we’ve grown familiar with over the first few issues. We also learn of the betrayal that changed her, and the complexity of emotion that must naturally follow the circumstance: Queen Olywn was betrayed by her brother, who was promptly killed as Rook tried to save her from him. Those are some heavy ass burdens to bear all around.

The dream sequences enrich Isola‘s backstory with some stunning artistry, and the pace stays fast and engaging as we toggle back and forth between flashbacks of the past with the dangers of the present. Present-day Olywn and Rook are still with Rafiki’s people and they’re being ambushed by rivals, and our girls are obviously not in much of a position to fight… except when each other are threatened, which adds the thickest layer of emotion to this book. The love between Rook and Olwyn — at least in one direction — lands powerfully well, and the action that comes from Olwyn under threat makes for a dramatic, emotion-filled read.

Overall, this is the most we’ve learned so far in Isola, and the plot is catching up with the beauty of its art. It’s exciting, emotional, creative, and beautiful. There’s not much more you can ask for, so here’s hoping Isola can continue at this rate.

10 out of 10

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  • Jordan Calhoun is a writer in New York City. His forthcoming debut book "Piccolo Is Black" is a celebration of the common adaptations we made while non-diverse pop culture helped us form identities. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice, B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Japanese, and an M.P.A. in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy. He might solve a mystery, or rewrite history. Find him on Instagram and Twitter @JordanMCalhoun

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