By Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, Tamra Bonvillain & Zack Davisson
The second arc of Wayward is well underway. Lori and Shirai are finally back in action, especially Lori! Meanwhile, the rest of the group meets with the Tsuchigumo (Spider demons) to form an alliance against their common foes. Ayane is all gung-ho for battle, but Emi and Nikaido are still suspect…
With all the rising action, it’s easy to forget the core of this comic: the characters. Jim Zub makes sure this doesn’t happen, which is such a relief. Lori is finally becoming comfortable in more ways than one and Steve Cummings and Tamra Bonvillain illustrate this beautifully. She has become an extremely powerful metaphor and each panel she’s in is mesmerizing; it even calls to mind Jean Grey when she was the Phoenix.
Emi is the one stuck in arrested development, her journey is what’s coming to the forefront this arc and that’s a bold move making a new character the central focus or point of view. It takes confidence in the secondary characters and skill to accomplish what this narrative is presenting its audience – definitely satisfying material. Zack Davisson continues to deliver the best back matter in comics. His informative essays provide so much context that it elevates the comic so much with future re-readings. He brings Japanese culture to those who wouldn’t have been exposed to it otherwise. I can’t respect that enough.
The artwork continues to be a colorful masterpiece. Whether it be the depiction of the Thread or numerous cats, the detail is stunning. Inspecting every panel’s background minutiae will give readers such a respect for how much these artists want to bring Japan to life and honor the country’s lore and culture. If this title ever gets licensed for animation for film, these two better be consulted for the conceptual designs, seriously! The Tsuchigumo are the new yokai (demons) they introduce and even they have a beauty to them.
This comic continues to be a breath of fresh air in Image’s line-up. It can honestly be said that there isn’t an American comic like it. It’s educational, entertaining, emotional and gorgeous. This creative team has earned enough credit in only nine issues that they have created a massive fan base already…and with good reason. Pick up this issue or catch-up, either way readers won’t be disappointed.