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Wayward #12 Review

4 min read

Wayward Issue 12 CoverBeware the gaijin empress.

Creative Staff:
Story: Jim Zub
Art: Steve Cummings
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain

What They Say:
No more hiding. The new gods of Japan are on the attack and Tokyo is caught in the middle.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Wayward moved into its new arc the last time around and it’s all built upon what’s come before. That makes the monthly installments, especially with the mild gap between arcs, a better read when you can go through several of them at once. But there is also the thrill of the individual issue and that sudden discovery combined with the wait that comes with the next issue being a month or so away. This installment gives us some solid material all around and it also continues to paint a picture of how the world is changing now that so much of this is going public. But you also begin to question just how much is being shared and seen by others because there are some very striking moves made here.

There are two background plots that are developing more this time around as we get the sides drawn in clearer fashion. With Segawa being used by the yokai elders to gain advantage, we see a bit of his training and reckless nature, which grinds against the elder even though he needs that. It’s an interesting couple of pages we get with it as it shows some of what’s at stake and the immensity of powers that are developing amid the modern age. The flip side to this is seeing Rori undergoing her coping with what happened in the weave and how out of it she is. Her recovery is slow but steady, but it’s all part of Tsuchigomu’s bigger plan. The way she’s manipulating the situation with her spiders is striking, beautiful, and eerie all wrapped up together and as her plan comes together it is chilling to watch. Her taking control of Rori makes sense in trying to establish her position better, but it’s hard to see how she can pull this off for an extended time, depending on what her true goals are. Rori has been all over the map in her portrayal since her life changed and this is just one more big segment to it.

Where a lot of this book wants to spend its time is with Ayane as she copes with her feelings of anger. While others are neutral or despondent, like Ohara, Ayane is ready to kick some ass. This has her heading right into to the heart of the city to find some yokai to deal with and grows in her ability to discern them. When she comes across a gaggle of kitsune, she just goes all in – quite publicly- in taking them down even as the police watch. They’re struggling to deal with the breakdown of law and order as the new age slowly dawns, which allows Ayane to go as far as she does. I mean, heads exploding far kind of material. There’s some brutal stuff here that fits with the way the book has unfolded, but it’s still jarring.

I do like that the series is showing the shakeup of the natural order that has existed for so long as even amid this fight a potential ally is discovered. One of the kitsune, a very capable young woman named Inaba, provides the challenge that Ayane is looking for and it makes for some very stylish sequences as the two go at it, allowing Cummings to really cut loose a bit. But Inaba is able to see that the real path going forward is likely with Rori, the supposed gaijin empress that the yokai talk of, and she opts to try and throw her lot in there. It’s a ronin play to be sure, but one that works – even if it does feel like the cast is expanding a bit much without enough time to really firm up who we have.

In Summary:
While Wayward continues to frustrate me on some level because it feels like it lost its touch with the characters, interested more in barreling forward with the story, it’s still a pretty exciting piece of work to watch unfold. Things continue to change up quickly, new alliances are born, the status quo is anything but with the main cast, and we see the big plays in motion at different stages. Zub’s script keeps it moving well, though I could use with characters using each others names just a bit more, and Cumming’s artwork is definitely a big selling point. And those that love to know a little more about it all culturally will once again find a great addendum piece here that will enrich your understanding of the work as a whole. Good stuff overall.

Grade: B

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: December 16th, 2015
MSRP: $2.99

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