Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Steve Cummings
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Cover: Steve Cummings & Tamra Bonvillain
The past few issues of Wayward have been nonstop action and mayhem all across Tokyo. So Zub decides to ease back on the action and take you further down the rabbit hole as things take a turn for the worse. With the Yokai still trying to regain the upper hand against the new gods, it looks as if Nurarihyon has the definitive plan to destroy the kids. Involving using one of their own against them as well as manipulating the resources of the Japan Ministry of Defense. This couldn’t come at a worse time as the kids are being misled by the crafty Tsuchigumo spiders whom they think are trying to help them take down the Yokai.
There’s a noticeable shift with this issue as Zub introduces more of the natural world and how they have been dealing with the attacks of the past few days. There’s a sequence showing how most of the incidents would be processed by those who aren’t ready to accept the supernatural element and the guiding hand of the media in all of this. Zub also uses this to lay the foundation for Nurarihyon’s plan and his further mentoring of Segawa to use him as a tool against the other kids. The relationship is very Emperor/Vader like which is perfect when you consider how damaged Segawa is but has one of the most powerful abilities out of the new gods next to Rori. Zub does a fine job of letting their actions speak for themselves along with Nurarihyon’s allure of coming off as a charming, smooth older gentleman right up until he has to turn up the heat.
As fun as the issue is, things get a little odd when the focus shifts over to the Rori and her friends. Without spoiling, there is a moment between Emi and Shirai that seemed to move at an uneven pace. The hint was dropped in a past issue but things just escalated pretty quickly here and the interaction fell a little flat. Also, a lot of time has passed during these attacks and it seems as if the important questions would have been asked already by this group of kids. Though it was good to see Zub have Shirai finally step up and not just be the angry kid in the group.
As usual the art is some of the best you’ll see as Cummings and Bonvillain expand on Zub’s narrative and delivers some great eye candy. This has been pretty consistent since the first issue and it’s great see this level of storytelling maintained along the way. As well as seeing an artistic creative team on a title longer than one or two story arcs. Whether the visuals involve supernatural one-eyed monsters and ghost eaters to an interrogation scene held in a government building, all of it looks good. Cummings keeps an attention to detail that makes these backgrounds just as much a part of the story as the characters in them. Bonvillain’s colors remain excellent and really make the art pop during the action sequences or when adding something extra to the appearance of those like Shirai or Nurarihyon. Hopefully you’re also checking out Zack Davisson’s write ups after the story which help flesh out the world of Wayward. Whether expanding on Yokai lore or just Japan’s police force there’s something worth reading in all of it.
As a result of recent events it’s beginning to get a little harder to tell the good guys from the bad which is just fine. The Yokai and the new gods are fighting for survival but who do we really want to win when this is all over? Whatever the outcome the Wayward team continues to keep things surprising while fun and you don’t need extensive knowledge of Japanese folklore to enjoy this. So go ahead and give the series a try if you haven’t already!