Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Reads: WAYWARD #3

IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics

STORY: Jim Zub – @jimzub
ART: Steve Cummings – @stekichikun
COLORS: John Rauch and Jim Zub with Tamra Bonvillain – @John_Rauch and @TBonvillain
LETTERS: Marshall Dillon – @MarshallDillon
COVER: Steve Cummings and Ross A. Campbell
28pp, Color, $3.50 U.S.

Additional material by Zack Davisson (@ZackDavisson) and Steve Cummings

Writer Jim Zub sent an advanced review PDF copy of the third issue of Wayward to comics media people, and the ComicBookBin was one of the recipients.  I decided to also share the good news about Wayward with you, dear reader.  I really appreciate the chance to read advanced comics, but when the comic book is something as good as Wayward, I almost feel honored to receive it.

Wayward is the intriguing new fantasy comic book series from Zub and penciller Steve Cummings.  Published by Image Comics, Wayward focuses on Rori Lane, a half-Irish/half-Japanese teen girl who is trying to start a new life in Japan, only to find herself connected to the magic and ancient creatures that lurk in the shadows of Tokyo.

As Wayward #3 (“Chapter Three”) opens, Rori can sense a storm is brewing – both naturally and supernaturally.  She still isn't fitting in at school, but she's found a homeboy, of sorts, in Shirai, a teenaged boy who can “eat ghosts.”  Meanwhile, somewhere else in Tokyo, a stranger man senses a “rogue weaver.”  Also, enter Nikaido, and someone whom Rori knows has a secret.

Clearly, Wayward is attracting readers, and I think that is because Jim Zub is slowly introducing readers to a world of magic and intrigue.  Perhaps, it is a really big world, and the only way for Zub to do right by his creation is to work through the characters.  They confront the magic in bits and pieces, rather than having to face an epic, wide-ranging magical conspiracy all at once.  Zub knows that if we buy into the characters first, we will also accept the supernatural that they encounter as they encounter it.

Yes, someone says the word, “magic,” in this chapter, but artist Steve Cummings perfectly blends the magical, the supernatural, and the otherness into a solidly real world of mundane tasks and ordinary living.  Cummings is going to make us invest in this world, by recognizing its relationship to ours.  Cummings' art is kind of teaching our imaginations to feel the difference between an ordinary world in which magic just might be as legitimate a part of the world as anything else.

Yeah, it's not fluke.  Wayward is one of the best new titles of the year.  Plus,  Zack Davisson offers another hugely informative essay on the mythology of Japan in “The Magical Foxes of Japan.”


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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