Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review: WAYWARD #10

IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics

STORY: Jim Zub – @jimzub
ART: Steve Cummings – @stekichikun
COLORS: Tamra Bonvillain – @TBonvillain
LETTERS: Marshall Dillon – @MarshallDillon
COVER: Steve Cummings with Tamra Bonvillain
VARIANT COVER: Hanzo Steinbach
28pp, Color, $3.50 U.S.

Wayward, the comic book series from writer Jim Zub and artist Steve Cummings, is about to take a three-month break from publishing.  Before that break, Wayward #10, which is the concluding issue of the series' second story arc, has arrived.

Published by Image Comics, Wayward is set in Japan and features those creatures and spirits of Japanese folklore, yokai.  Wayward focuses on Rori Lane, a half-Irish/half-Japanese teen girl, who is trying to start a new life in Japan.  Instead, Rori and a small band of fellow magically-touched folks battle a secret war of magic in the shadows of Tokyo.

Ohara Emi was a quite school girl until she started manifesting strange powers.  Now, she is the narrator of the current story arc, and she manipulates matter and transmutes man-made materials.  As Wayward #10 (“Chapter Ten”) opens, Ohara, Nikaido, and Ayane have team up with Tsuchigumo.  These are supernatural spiders that are fighting their yokai brethren.

Now, humans and mystical spiders attack the Fudo Temples, but their tengu guardians are determined to fight back.  Do Ohara and her friends know the entire story of this fight, however?  Meanwhile, Rori and Shirai, thought to be dead, prepare to reemerge.

Wayward writer/co-creator, Jim Zub, sent out advanced review PDF copies of Wayward #10 (which the ComicBookBin received).  This is a pivotal issue.  Not only is issue #10 the closing chapter of the series second story arc, but it also essentially the end of series introductions.  Now, the series is prepared to get on with the big story, as Zub says in an afterword to this issue.

Zub's script does not disappoint, and co-creator Steve Cummings brings the script to life as magical graphical storytelling that remains grounded at the same time it brings the supernatural to life with imagination and inventiveness.  Colorist Tamra Bonvillain delivers striking colors that make the magical energy pop.  Also, integral Wayward contributor, Zack Davisson, delivers two essays (instead of the usual one) that explain the mythology and culture in which Wayward travels.  I think the next 10 issues will blow our minds.


[Wayward #10 contains two engrossing essays, “Circle of Protection Tokyo! The Goshiki Fudo” and “Sokushinbutsu – Buddhas of the Living World,” by Zack Davisson (@ZackDavisson).]

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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