Story: Jim Zub
Art: Steve Cummings
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
What They Say:
The third story arc’s explosive finish. All paths lead to war.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Wayward brings to conclusion its third arc, but like past arcs it puts us in a position where the much needed epilogue is still unavailable. Zub has been putting together some solid scripts and concepts from the get go but I keep feeling like there’s a lack of ground within and after each arc in order to really grapple with the weight of it. And it’s going to be really important to have that after this arc considering what goes down and the larger impact of it all. That said, as chaotic as this last chapter of the arc is, it definitely delivers on the action and the various movements that have been put into play for some time.
Nura’s attempt at securing the future of the yokai is obviously the big play at hand here as we saw him using one of the newly discovered kids for his own ends the last time around. Gaining a seat of power, even temporarily, with the government helps to push his idea of using humanity against this new generation. He’s certainly a proper information hoarder that has made good use of his new pet to set all this up and the way he nudges and prods the Prime Minister into action is really fun to watch. Turning the SDF loose on the streets to take down Rori’s side and all that the Tsuchi has been up to certainly has a mixture of sweet and scary about it. A lot of that comes down to the fact that Rori and friends have been used for some time and are only starting to realize all of that, which just adds to their own view of the chaos here as the armed forces move into the temple.
A lot of the enjoyment is just in watching the various kids take action or realize what’s going on. Those free of Tsuchi are making their own play while others like Ayane and her Kitsune friend are now realizing what’s happening and are trying to just ensure their own survival. When the connection is cut, it’s a brutal moment for Rori as she’s completely unaware of what’s going on but sees all the carnage around her coupled with Nikaido’s hopes and fears since he needs her to pull off a big move. Rori’s been in a weird place for a while with Tsuchi’s manipulations and hopefully that gets explored for more than a few panels. The various survival tracts that we get this time around are well done, even if it does throw the kids in scattered directions once again, but hopefully it’ll lead to some neat moments as they all survive until they meet again.
With a really solid and far too short look at the JSDF in the backup section of the book, Wayward has a lot of fun in going big here to close out this arc. There isn’t a true single character focus on the kids side as it’s more about Nura’s point of view as he tries to secure the future of the yokai with his long view planning style. I actually like this character a lot and the way things connect further back with Tsuchi and the others, which is all given a good nod here. There are a lot of tantalizing bits to this issue in terms of story, but it really wins out best with the pacing and the dynamic action and designs that Cummings brings to the page throughout. It’s a book that could get mired in the dialogue but Cummings’ artwork really makes each page flow beautifully, especially with the pop that Bonvillain’s colors give it, avoiding going garish but still standing out in a really strong way.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: March 30th, 2016