Since its first issue, Wayward has been something more than what it appears to be. Zub makes sure that once the story is going in one direction, he’ll turn it on its heels and take you somewhere else. And regardless of whether it’s a familiar story element or a new character, he’s bound to make an impact. Rori continues to be an interesting main character who is much more than her newfound abilities. We’re still seeing how she’s battling not only mythological monsters but her own inner demons, as well. She’s a flawed character, which is perfect because I really couldn’t suspend my disbelief if she was a well adjusted teenager who just embraced what is happening and kicked all kinds of butt. We are treated to a very strong example of this as she’s beating herself up with her own thoughts, but the reality of the situation is completely different. It’s a very well scripted out scene that nails everything it’s supposed to, and makes all of those doubts and insecurities that much more palpable to the reader. The supporting cast is something of a mixed bag as Shirai isn’t too interesting, except for when the group encounters a violent ghost and the action takes over. Ayane is only in this issue briefly, but she was the highlight other than meeting the newest member to their strange group, Nikaido. Hopefully Shirai offers a bit more as the story develops, because he seems to be the one character that has the most in common with Rori.
What continuously blows me away is that Cummings makes sure to overwhelm you with some great looking artwork issue after issue. From his expressive characters that sync up with Zub’s dialogue, to the detailed backgrounds, this is one of the better looking comics on the shelf today. It’s the little details that he incorporates into the cityscapes that really just immerse you in Japan. Some artists just throw a lot of kanji around and similar architecture, but Cummings gives you much more, and it helps keep the story moving at a great pace. With Cummings’s artwork being as good as it is, the coloring team knocks it over the edge and completes the package.
Once you’ve finished reading I’d suggest taking a look at the references about the mythological monsters that show up in the issue. It fleshes out the creatures and gives you a richer experience in the end.
Wayward might walk on some familiar territory, but the creative team is sure to throw in some surprises along the way. If you’re a fan of well written characters, Japanese mythology, and great comics, then start reading Wayward.