Dominant Wolves powered to their eighth win in 10 games as they proved they can do it without Bakary Sako with arguably their most comfortable victory of the season.
Leigh Griffiths took his tally to seven goals this season with a brace after a 20th minute penalty then another two minutes after the break.
In a whirlwind start to the second half, Kevin Doyle (55) made it 3-0 and it was plain sailing all the way until late drama when Carl Ikeme saved a Freddie Sears penalty after the Wolves keeper brought down Marcus Bean.
Ikeme had earlier produced a superb diving save to deny right-back David Wright ‘s 25-yarder in the first half.
But once they took the lead, Wolves never looked back as they made it three wins in a row and three successive clean sheets.
Sako didn’t travel because of illness and the intense speculation surrounding his future after the club halted talks with Nottingham Forest after the Championship side refused to agree a loan fee and terms of the agreement.
But they didn’t miss him on a day when new loan signing from Millwall, James Henry, made an impressive debut at wide right and Doherty was superb, winning the penalty and crossing for the second goal.
There were any number of impressive performers when no one had a bad game for Wolves however.
Head coach Kenny Jackett made three changes to the team that beat Sheffield United 2-0 last Saturday.
With Sako ill, his absence resulted in three positional changes.
Richard Stearman was recalled at centre-back, Sam Ricketts switched from central defence to left-back and left-back Scott Golbourne moved to left midfield.
James Henry came in for his Wolves debut on the right wing in place of Dave Edwards, and Doyle was recalled for Bjorn Sigurdarson up front.
Both midfielders Edwards and Lee Evans failed to make the 18 as David Davis made the bench following his suspension and Jack Price kept his place in central midfield.
Wolves threatened first with Griffiths and Kevin McDonald firing off target in the opening minutes of what was an end to end start to the game.
Alex Gilbey was first to threaten for Colchester after he escaped the clutches of Ricketts to send a bouncing volley wide from 25 yards in the 12th minute.
Colchester went closest for the home side however five minutes later when Matt Taylor beat Golbourne in the air and glanced inches wide of Ikeme’s far post.
But Wolves came closest to going behind in the 19th minute when right-back David Wright let fly from 25 yards and Ikeme dived at full stretch to palm the ball away.
The Wolves keeper was then perfectly placed to catch the follow-up from Jobo Ibehre’s close-range header.
A minute later, Wolves were ahead when Taylor tripped Matt Doherty as he attempted to slalom his way through in the box and the referee awarded a penalty.
Griffiths stepped up and almost casually rolled the ball to Sam Walker’s left, although the keeper guessed right.
The goal signalled a more comfortable period for Wolves, and they didn’t look back from then on.
Man of the match Doherty was denied by a superb, instinctive one-handed save from Walker with a shot on the turn from Golbourne’s cross after Colchester failed to clear their lines in the 28th minute.
Six minutes later, Batth went desperately close to a goal against his former loan club when he headed inches wide from another Golbourne centre.
Although they were indebted to Ikeme’s earlier save, Wolves were good value for their half-time lead.
And they again showed a ruthless streak to seal the game in emphatic style with two goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Griffiths swept home the second to cap a delightful move started with McDonald’s through ball out to the right for the overlapping Doherty, whose early cross was met by the Scot to double Wolves’ lead.
Wolves remained the dominant side and Doyle coolly slotted home the third after a pass from the hard-working Henry’s pass.
Jackett’s side were happy to see the game out and came under no real pressure for the rest of the game until the penalty drama.
It came when Ikeme blocked substitute Bean after he had made an initial save and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, although replays indicated it was a harsh decision.
But the keeper kept his clean sheet record intact as he dived to his right to save Sears’ spot kick.
Wolves brought on all three substitutes in the closing minutes to save their legs as Bjorn Sigurdarson, David Davis and Anthony Forde replaced Griffiths, Doyle and Henry.
And they had little trouble in seeing out the game.
Wolves head coach KennyJackett said: "It was a good performance and a good result, as good as any this season.
"Second half we came out on top but Colchester started to get into it in the last quarter with the referee giving them every decision. I've seen the penalty decision and it was never a penalty.
"But it was a great save from Carl Ikeme. He has been in excellent form and a major contribution to our current league position.
"Tactically, we can do better not to allow teams to come into the game but overall it was a good performance.
"It is a tough division but from 10 games, we have 25 points. We are doing well."
Jackett suggested some of the under-21 squad members could feature against Notts County in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on Tuesday. "We have several players away and we want to play at home and progress in the tournament so it could be an opportunity for them to feature."