ISOLA #4 / Writers: Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl / Artists: Karl Kerschl and MSASSYK / Letterer: Aditya Bidikar / Publisher: Image Comics / Release Date: July 11th, 2018
I’m always recommending new comics to people. I think it’s important to broaden your horizons and try new things. It’s a concept applicable to life, but it’s especially important in comics. Isola is one of the first comics I recommend to people nowadays. It is yet another new title from Image Comics. It’s also something you don’t need to have prior knowledge of and the art is always breathtaking. And if you’re a fan of stories that take place in distant lands similar to Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, this comic is for you. In the last issue, a lot was revealed regarding the plot and characters of this magical world. This issue boasted some of the best pacing, action, and plot progression this short series has seen. And it all starts with a flashback.
As advertised in the last issue and in the solicits for this issue, Isola #4 reveals how Queen Olwyn went from a strong, proud ruler, to a pretty tiger with blue stripes. The reasons are nothing I haven’t seen before, but Isola isn’t good because it’s creating something entirely different. No, just like the other issues in this series, Isola #4 has a presence. There’s an atmosphere on every page, in every letter. In this issue, we see what happened to Olwyn through the view of Rook. Rook is a very interesting character, because she’s been through so much, but we haven’t seen anything of her past. I enjoyed finally seeing some of Rook’s past and getting insight into who she was before this series starts.
This issue works a dual narrative where we see the past from Rook’s point of view and we watch her in the present as she deals with the trauma. She’s experiencing hallucinations of some sort and her guilt is starting to catch up with her. This was a first for Isola. Everything up until this point has happened in the present. We’ve only been told what’s happened in the past, and hardly that, it’s mainly just been mentioned in passing. This issue could’ve fell flat if the pacing was off, but Fletcher and Kerschl do a good job of once again, giving us enough to understand, but hiding enough so there’s intrigue. There is a good enough mix of past and present, so the readers aren’t confused. It’s by far the highlight Isola #4 and something that only adds to the series’ greatness.
If you read my last review of Isola, you know how much I love this art. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I mentioned earlier that Isola #4 had some of the best action, and I mean it. Kerschl and MSASSYK continue to combine their skills to give us a world, that feels real. The entire flashback scene, since we’re seeing it through Rook’s point of view, has a glossy, almost fog-like cloud over it. It doesn’t have the same bold color we see from the present. It’s an effect that’s used in television shows often, and it was done so well here, that I felt like I was watching a show. That effect carries into the action. The action is high-stakes and when the action reaches a climax, I could almost hear an echo. There’s bright blue streams of energy, screams, and even a weapon being thrown. And because of the art, I felt as if I was right there, in Queen Olwyn’s private quarters.
The art from the present story is good as well. I mentioned how well this issue paced itself. There’s an incredibly tense moment towards the end of this issue. A battle ensues, and the art helps build the tension. I found myself holding my breath while reading. This scene was also great, because we got another chance to see why Rook is such an awesome warrior. Isola has a thing for grand endings. This issue was no different, as it introduced new characters, showed us a new part of this world, and let Kerschl and MSASSYK showcase their skills once more. A lot happens in Isola #4, but because of how well the pacing is, it never feels like too much.
This series is fantastic. I believe the next issue is the end of this arc. Online, it says that Isola will return in 2019 after issue 5. I don’t know how much truth there is to that, but now’s the perfect time to hop on this series. If you like the pictures I post here on my reviews, you haven’t seen nothing yet. Isola is a mythical place in this world. A magical, somewhat religious place that doesn’t even seem to exist at this point. But, with everything that’s been shown in this comic, I think one of the themes they’re hitting on is that anything is possible. It’s a theme that isn’t really broadcasted, but one that pops into my head every time I read this comic. I can’t wait for issue 5.
Verdict: 5 out of 5
“His name is Toren Chenault but he goes by Raymond X. He’s currently a student attending Michigan State University from where he will graduate this spring. He loves all things nerd culture from television to comics and his favorite heroes are Daredevil, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Nighthawk, and Captain Atom. Toren is a writer as well, and his debut superhero novel, Mystic Man, will be released this year.