by Jim Zub, Steve Cummings & John Rauch
When it comes to Image Comics, every Wednesday is like Christmas. A new week brings a new series’ debut issue, and this week’s release of Wayward #1 is a refreshing read. Wayward is about a young half Irish and half Japanese girl named Rori Lane. Wayward follows Rori leaving Ireland and her father, to live with her mother in Japan while looking for a fresh start in life.
Wayward is very much akin to a westernized version of a manga. This concept is an excellent one that isn’t used enough in western comics. Most westernized artists who do make manga-inspired work usually tend to go all the way by using just inking for the art and released in small volumes. Not many attempt to make a full-sized, color, monthly comic that’s palatable to all sorts of readers. Jim Zub is able to pull this off remarkably well in this first issue of Wayward. It very much feels like the first chapter in a manga. A young teen moves to Tokyo, explores a new world, and then finds monsters. Zub set everything up smoothly and hooked the reader at the end, a great start for Wayward.
The art is a very important part of a lot of manga that give them their distinct look. Steve Cummings art in Wayward not only pulls it off but goes beyond expectations. All the pages in Wayward are just spectacular looking. If Wayward were just a black and white book it would still look outstanding. Then you add these vibrant colors of both John Rauch and Jim Zub and you elevate the book to just plain astonishing. Such an amazing looking first issue will surely attract a lot of readers and will absolutely make Steve Cummings a lot of new fans.
Wayward has pulled off a striking first issue that made for an incredibly fun read. A bright supernatural east-meets-west story has a little bit of something for everyone. This is one of those comics you can give to a manga fan who says they don’t read “comics,” that may change their mind. This first issue only felt like a small taste of what this series has to offer, I’m definitely looking forward to reading more Wayward.