Advent Review #18: Wayward #4-5 (Comics Review)
The first three issues of Wayward by Jim Zub and Steve Cummings have done much to create the setting for the story that can found inside these pages, that of a half-Japanese, half-Irish young girl Rori who comes to Japan to stay with her mother and ends up finding out that she has some really freaky powers and that there are others like her, in Tokyo at least, one of them at her school even! And of course, there’s also a larger story here of villains with nefarious plans, leaving it to Rori and her new friends to do something about all of it and save the people close to her, if she can.
After the introductory three issues, issue four and five of Wayward are all about closing out the first arc, for the fifth issue does feel like a temporary conclusion to the story. They are also highly action-packed issues that blitz you through a number of twists that will leave you stunned, scrambling to make sure that what you just read actually happened. Another thing that becomes clear is that after the almost light-hearted tone of the first three issues, the creators are going full-out for some serious stuff, an interesting juxtaposition that really ends up working well in this case, making Wayward a must-read for all comics readers.
Issues four and five are where Jim Zub raises the narrative stakes a heck of a lot. Up until now we have seen a buildup of characters as a group of kids with supernatural powers came together to investigate some really weird things happening around them, but in these two issues, we see what happens when everything is let loose and the heroes finally go up against the villains in an intense and double-explosive showdown that just leaves you wanting for more.
In these two issues, with much of the character establishment already done, Jim Zub moves forward to show how they all interact with each other and how their strengths and weaknesses affect them as a group. And at the same time, we learn some big secrets about their lives, especially Rori. It turns out that her mother has secretly been working for the villains all along, although it is more a tragic association rather than anything truly nefarious, which is underscored in the fifth issue when we see the big showdown happen. With all of the magic-busting action that happens in the fourth issue, you’d expect that the fifth issue would slow down and take a breath, and let the reader take a few breaths too, but that doesn’t happen. If anything, this week’s installment is even more intense than last month’s, and by a considerable margin too.
For the thing is, the stakes now are truly personal. Rori learns some things about herself, and her place in the web of events that have surrounded her since she landed in Tokyo, and she has to learn to deal with it, just as Nikaido has to learn to deal with the consequences of his powers, even though his powers are a boon to his friends. It kind of creates a tangled web of relationships and dependencies, but hell, it makes for some great character drama and that’s what I valued the most in both issues.
And it is not just all that, but the fact that the heroes even get a sort of power boost in both issues, especially in the fifth where Rori does some things that I had no idea she could do, and I doubt she knew of it either. These are jam-packed issues, and once you are done reading them, you are going to be amazed and impressed.
Steve’s linework, Tamra’s colours and Marshall’s colours combine to give you an entertaining visual feast. As good as the characters are in both issues, the real fun is in seeing how the artists depict the magic that happens around both the heroes and the villains. that’s where the gems of this series really are. Whether it is Rori following a red magical ribbon to her intended destinations, or Shirai doing his super-magic-punch thing or Ayane doing her crazy cat-thing. It is fun. Every single time. And the villains are no slouches either, with issues three, four and five all giving them some incredible things to do and show to the reader.
Damn good two issues, making Wayward one of the best and most consistent of all the new series that have launched this year. Big thumbs-up!
Posted on December 19, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged Ayane, Comics, Comics Review, Demons, Female Heroes, Female Protagonists, Female Warriors, Female-Led Comics, Image Comics, Japan, Japanese Mythology, Jim Zub, John Rauch, magic, Marshall Dillon, Monsters, Mysticism, Review, Review Central, Shirai, Steve Cummings, Supernatural, Tamra Bonvillain, Urban Fantasy, Warrior Women, Wayward, Women in Comics, Women in SFF, Zach Davisson. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.