Wayward #1 (Comics Review)

I don’t know if it is just me but since Fall last year it looks like Jim Zub is quickly becoming one of the hottest writers in the industry. After the success of his Image series Skullkickers, he seems to be getting projects green-lit left and right, whether that be the awesome Samurai Jack tie-in for IDW or the Pathfinder: City of Secrets tie-in for Dynamite (he wrote more Pathfinder before as well, I think), or even a few one-shots here and there. For the most part, all that I’ve read from him has ranged from the good to the really great. Skullkickers is something that I’ve been meaning to read for a while and it looks like I really need to jump on with this, because I just need to read more Jim Zub every month.

The latest project from Jim is Wayward, the first issue of which came out yesterday. Working alongside artists Steve Cummings, John Rauch and Marshall Dillon, Jim has crafted a really suspenseful and mysterious tale about a Japanese-Irish girl coming to Japan to live with her mother and getting caught up in some kind of supernatural antics, such as when she starts to get followed by cats and can find her way to new places purely by instinct or… more. The writing is excellent of course, but it is really the art that shines through so much, with all the colourful magic quality of Japan and a bit of mysticism thrown in.

Wayward 001Wayward is about a young girl Rori who is moving to Japan to live with her mother after a rather tense divorce and the culture is entirely new to her. Her mother is Japanese and her father Irish but Rori has always lived in Ireland, and now she is stepping into a new world, with new people, new mood, new atmosphere, new outlook and, new dangers as well. That’s what the first issue focuses on. As long as the scenes take place in the light of day, Rori has a great time exploring Tokyo, but when night falls, that’s when the supernatural begins to creep in. Rori is not the character on the cover by the way, that is Ayane, who is going to turn out to be Rori’s saviour and possibly a friend as well by the end of the book and hopefully later on as well. You look at all those cats with their creepy, shining eyes, and you get a shudder just looking at them.

Like I said, the writing is impressive. Jim presents Rori as a well-developed character right off the bat and he provides the basics of her history from the get go too, so that he can jump in right into the main story. The first half of the story is build-up of course, and we follow Rori along on her first day in Japan, then the second half takes a turn towards mystery and action and Rori discovers a world that she never could have imagined.

Jim’s characterisation of both Rori and Ayane is compelling. They are similar characters but with completely different backgrounds and they complement each other well. It also helps that they are never presented as helpless or cliched, not in any kind of an overt way at least. Jim knows what he is doing here, and by teaming these two together, he is creating something exciting and promising, something worth coming back to next month.

And if I’m honest, then I wouldn’t mind seeing this title again in 2 weeks, with a regular bimonthly schedule. I just want more of this right now! This issue was certainly as awesome as Jim’s Samurai Jack #1 last year.

Steve is the penciller for this issue, with John and Jim (Zub!) as colourists, Marshall as letterer and Zack Davisson working on the back-matter for the issue. Again, the art here was totally fantastic. There’s some really nice colourwork in this issue, with colours in the night-time suitably subdued and even a bit muted while the daytime colours are bright and peppy and… noticeable. And, Steve’s pencilwork is beyond compare with his characters being properly proportioned, with clear expressive faces and lots of details in each panel. Plus the line-work in general is pretty clean and neat too.

Pretty damn fantastic first issue I’ll say!

Rating: 9.5/10

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Posted on August 28, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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