As with all things Popeye, Popeye #4 really depends on your feelings for both Popeye and the older art style it invokes. That aside, there is, as always, a funny story at the heart of the issue.
The official description from IDW:
“It’s the boxing match to end all boxing matches as The Phantom Crusher hits town… and he’s after J. Wellington Wimpy! But when the Crusher is caught cheating, it’s up to Wimpy’s trainer, Popeye, to teach him a lesson he’ll never forget!”
Whilst this issue still sticks to Popeye‘s original roots in terms of style and art, the story itself takes a while to get going. Over all it can be quite a long issue, as there is plenty of dialogue to slow things down. Whilst the art and nature of Popeye might appeal to younger audiences, the lengthy dialogue boxes will certainly be a distraction.
Whilst some of the dialogue is useful ( Popeye’s accent and muttering is always nice to read, if not always easy), a lot of just takes up space. Granted, there are plenty of jokes, but perhaps there just isn’t enough spacing in between.
Despite this, Popeye #4 proves worthy of a read in its latter half. Once the initial story is set, things to do quicken up. The cast in this issue is quite large, which doesn’t help the issue with dialogue, but it makes for plenty of jokes and humorous scenes. Wimpy, in particular, provides a humorous side arc that suits the character.
Of course, it all inevitably involves Popeye fighting someone. Spinach, as always, is also involved somewhere along the lines. Still, its entertaining enough, and tries to make sure it doesn’t repeat the same old tropes that make up most of Popeye’s adventures.
In short, Popeye #4 is a great example of Popeye. It tells a reasonable story, even if it does take its time to get going.