Jim Zub manages to keep the tone fun and friendly with IDW's fourth issue of SAMURAI JACK. Sure, the premise is about a selfish ruler who's starving the people of a town, but despite that beyond bleak scenario, it's an issue full of characters and interactions that are just loaded with joy. They're in a terrible situation, but it's full of levity because these characters have an absurd amount of frozen snot spewing from their noses, animated expressions and the remarks they make are just so smile-inducing. "Cold 'nuff ta freeze a fart!" The path is exactly what you've come to expect from this series, so if you've been digging it, you'll be pleased yet again.
Artist Andy Suriano and colorist Josh Burcham do a fine job immersing us in this rough location. There's heavy use of different shades of blue and white to help us feel just how cold everyone truly is. Just like the other three issues, this chapter does a wonderful job presenting an animated vibe, giving life to these characters and making it feel like this could actually play out in an episode. Jack's use of his sword may be brief in this one, but seeing him slice apart robotic foes is always a treat.
Issue #3 switched up the formula a bit by offering a compelling twist, but this one goes back to the basics. It's just Jack going to another location, fighting the evil forces that be and then progressing with the Thread of Time (oh come on, you knew he'd get it). A little more variety to spice things up would be nice. For example, an entire of issue of Jack surviving in the harsh environment (as shown on the cover) could have been really engaging and then the issue could end with him finding the new town.
SAMURAI JACK #4 is basically more of the same. If you've been enjoying the book, there's pretty much no reason why you won't enjoy this one as well. The premise isn't as inspired as the last issue and the action isn't as good as the debut issue, but it's still a very nice dose of fun and a satisfying adventure.