Written By: Taboo, B.Earl
Art By: Scot Eaton, Scott Hanna
Colors By: Miroslav Mrva
Letters By: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 28th, 2021
Werewolf By Night #4 brings the current arc to a close. Jake is trapped in a specimen tube. JJ and Red Wolf are breaking into the lab to save him with the help of Pathmind. And Dr. Makowski is racing to finish the serum that will increase her mutant army enough to stop them all. Will Jake escape in time to save Granny Rora? Can JJ and Red Wolf shut down the “Brainframe” (no, I didn’t make that name up)? Is the inevitable monster fight at the end worth the cover price? Let’s find out.
Was It Good?
The art is okay. Not great. Just okay.
The writing is not okay.
Short Story Long
We begin with Jake trapped in the lab container going into a heavy monologue about his situation and how he feels. His monologue permeates the entire issue in caption box after caption box, paragraph after paragraph. It’s unrelenting.
Cut to JJ and Red Wolf outside the labs “stealthily” sneaking up on the guards to break in. I put “stealthily” in quotes because they bizarrely engage in a long, loud conversation about clouds and gadgets and the nature of progress while they’re sneaking up on the guards. I wanted to *shush* them while I was reading this. So.many.word.balloons.
We shift focus to Pathmind back at their command center. He’s remotely feeding JJ and Red Wolf directions as they move through the facility. Pathmind inexplicably makes comments that make no sense for somebody his age and tech savviness: “uploaded it into your faces,” “Super rad, Dude,” “Oh, man. You guys are boiling.” No, modern tech genius talks like this. It’s bizarre.
Meanwhile, Dr. Makowski is preparing more batches of serum for her hired mercs. They get paid and animalistic upgrades, and she gets a small army. While this is going on, Jake is getting in touch with his inner chi or feeling the breath of the inner cosmic or something. He’s, I suppose, trying to overcome the sedation with meditative breathing so he can force himself to transform.
JJ and Red Wolf make it to the central computer that looks like a giant brain with cybernetic implants. Admittedly, the design concept is cool, but it’s not clear where or how it exists in the space it occupies. Is it floating? Is it resting on a platform? It’s simply an object in the middle of the panel with no reference to how it exists in connection with it’s surroundings.
JJ and Red Wolf insert the skeleton key that will allow Pathmind to hack in. Dr. Makowski detects the intrusion, and her henchman alerts her monster squad to intercept the intruders at the “brainframe.” That name is cool enough, but Dr. Makowski instructs him to never call it that again. Why? Is this the first time anyone thought to call it that? What is happening?
I’ll tell you what’s happening. Jake is still in the test tube giving himself a pep talk that sounds very much like “In with the good air. Out with the bad air.” What I haven’t been able to figure out is how he’s breathing at all when he’s in a tube filled with some kind of orange liquid, and he doesn’t have a facemask on. Is it some kind of synthetic amniotic fluid? Isn’t the fluid what’s sedating him in the first place? Wouldn’t breathing in the fluid pump more sedative into his body?
The Monster Squad shows up to stop JJ and Red Wolf. Just before our heroes get finished off, Pathmind cracks the system, and the Monster Squad gets their own minds back. They don’t know where they are or what’s happened to them, so they join JJ and Red Wolf to fight Dr. Makowski.
Jake meditates his way to full wolf mode and breaks out of his tube.
The reformed Monster Squad arrives to take out Dr. Makowski, but not before she gives the latest batch of serum to her mercs. The mercs take their medicine which promptly kills all of them (???), I think, except for their leader. It’s not clear what happens in the panel other than they all scream in pain, and then suddenly there are disemboweled bodies on the floor. Did they explode? Did their leader, now transformed into a less terrifying wolf-man, kill them? I don’t know.
Jake is free, but instead of freeing everyone else (there are dozens of civilians trapped in tubes) or going after Dr. Makowski to shut the whole operation down, he frees Granny Rora. I can’t figure out how he though it would be safer to carry her around before beating the bad guys first, but there it is.
The wolf-merc attacks while Jake is carrying Granny Rora (I told you so) and urges her to run. Granny Rora was unconscious in Jake’s arms in the previous panel, so how was she supposed to run? Jake and wolf-merc fight, and Jake manages to toss him off the walkway to hit the ground a few stories below. Wolf-merc isn’t dead but at least unconscious or possibly incapacitated with a broken back.
Meanwhile, the Monster Squad is fighting Dr. Makowski, but she’s holding her own and eventually defeats them with a Samurai sword. Jake charges in to assist, but the good Dr. manages to impale him with her sword. Concluding it would be wiser to run and fight, Dr. Makowski opts to escape while Jake is injured. However, in a move completely out of left field, Dr. Makowski’s face opens up and a brain with a jet pack flies out of her face and into a helicopter waiting nearby.
Yes, you read that right. Dr. Makowski is Krang from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
We end the issue with all the prisoners freed, all the heroes reunited at a local diner for breakfast, and Krang… I mean Dr. Makowski crawling into a new host body somewhere in Mexico.
Werewolf By Night #4 wraps up the arc, possibly the series, by beating the bad guy, saving the innocents, and letting the villain escape to fight another day. If Marvel wants to continue this series, they’ve got a lot of rework to do.