By Jim Zub, Steven Cummings, Tamra Bonvillain, and Zack Davisson
Wayward returns for its third story arc after the game-changing battle in issue #10. After Rori Lane’s declaration to the yōkai and Japan at large, Nurarihyon licks his wounds and prepares for his next move. Due to expending too much power with an utter lack of control, Rori is out of commission. The rest of the team of powerful misfits sits and worries for what happens next. Someone with new abilities is introduced and a new but familiar character makes his entrance in Japan…
It is a welcome treat to see this series return, for it has been far too long. Jim Zub opens the comic with a short, but poignant exposition that further elaborates and enforces one of the key themes of this comic. He jumps right into where the previous issue left off and hits the ground running. Zub altered the status quo in the last arc and now is able to further expand this world with Steven Cummings. The concept of new gods replacing the old seems to be a dominant idea right now, especially over at DC Comics with “The Darkseid War”. Continuing to ground the material in Japan and its culture still gives Wayward an edge, but the creative team is careful to make sure it doesn’t become a gimmick or stereotypical. With Zack Davisson aiding in research and providing context for the story/characters, the book is able to be really engrossing and enriching.
Steven Cummings and Tamra Bonvillain are an art team made in heaven. They bring such a colorful and unique depiction of normal and supernatural Japan – blending the old and the new. Bonvillain illuminates the artwork and brings a wonderful flair to it. Every page is vibrant and full of eye candy that no reader can complain about. The detailed character designs and facial expressions mesh so well with this type of coloring as well. They are always front and center, even against the brilliant backgrounds and settings.
There’s a reason that this series has made it to 11 issues. The team has tapped into a story that pleases so many different audiences and can go down so many plot avenues. Also, the comic not only serves to entertain, but educate via subtext. All around, Wayward continues to be one of Image’s best and most refreshing titles.