All-New Wolverine #4

"All-New Wolverine" #4 guest stars Doctor Strange, and -- while he's not the sort of character one might expect in this title -- that's ultimately a good thing. Tom Taylor, David Lopez and David Navarrot aren't afraid to mix things up and draw on all corners of the Marvel Universe, and the end result is a fun continuation of the current story arc, where Laura desperately tries to save her sisters.

Taylor uses Doctor Strange's presence in "All-New Wolverine" #4 to give us further insight into Gabby, Bellona and Zelda, as Strange uses his abilities to see what makes the trio tick. It's a smart move, using both Strange's mystical as well as medical know-how to further the story. At the same time, it's different than what one would normally expect in a Wolverine story. I like that the threats of this book are not only Zelda's own internal biology, but also a huge demon that's accidentally released due to Bellona's paranoia; there's as much introspective problems as there are big raging monsters on the loose.

Ultimately, that's the big selling point of "All-New Wolverine" #4 (and the series in general): Taylor's ability to mix action sequences with emotional peril. Laura's fights against opponents like Taskmaster and demons get an extra level of importance, because behind those threats are three women who were manipulated and twisted in a way similar to how Laura herself was shaped in a lab. Her sisters have varying degrees of innocence left in them, and Laura's attempts to save them have a strong undercurrent that grabs the reader, particularly after we're reminded of everything that Laura herself had to go through. Through Laura, we see how things can go horribly wrong and how she is the last chance for the trio, most notably the uncorrupted Gabby.

It doesn't hurt that Lopez and Navarrot's art is as good as ever. Lopez and Navarrot give us easy-to-follow action sequences and smooth character designs with clean lines. The demon that bursts through the cupboard this issue is suitably monstrous, looking almost normal until you see the glowing green tentacles pouring out of its mouth. Strange himself comes across well here, looking perfectly in place both in his wizardly robes as well as his medical doctor's coat. The best scene, though, is Zelda's expression of fear as Laura stands with her right before the MRI, which brings home Zelda's words about the reflection of Laura that passed away in Paris.

With art that bolsters the story and a story that brings the art to life, Taylor, Lopez and Navarrot deliver another fun comic that could have so easily been forgettable. "All-New Wolverine" #4 feels fresh and fun, and that's exactly what will keep readers coming back every month.

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