Story: Jim Zub
Art: Steve Cummings
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
What They Say:
NEW STORY ARC! This issue is the perfect place to jump on board and see what Image’s supernatural sensation has to offer. Rori and Ayane have been transported to Ireland and the Emerald Isle teems with new magic, mystery, and danger.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the previous arc of Wayward wrapping up back in March it’s certainly been quite the break for the series. Which is good in a lot of ways as it gives people a chance to dig into the trades and for more word of mouth to get out there. It also gives the creative team a chance to collect their thoughts, nudge a few other things along, and come back refreshed. And this opening installment of a new arc from Zub and Cummings, which picks up where we left off, feels very refreshed. The previous arc kind of frustrated me with how complicated things were getting as the narrative was becoming a bit thick but there’s a good sense of things being pared down a bit here and a better map toward the future being looked at in how to move it there.
Bringing Rori and Ayane back to Ireland through her dad’s powers definitely helps to provide the break we need from events in Japan while opening up mysteries here. This issue actually gives us a little time in the distant past as we see him as a young man first meeting Rori’s mother and there’s some real charm to it as it plays out and segues into the present. But at the same time, it makes his crying at the news of her death feel all the more forced and fake with how it’s presented here and how cavalier he is not that much later. Rori’s struggling with a lot of things so you can see her not quite being certain how to take him with it or even recognizing it since we all grieve in different ways, but it left me with some real wariness toward the man. That whole sequence at least broke things up with some real lightness as we have Ayane trying to understand what’s going on since they’re all speaking in English that she can’t understand.
With the pair settling in temporarily with him to get things figured out, we do get a tease of what’s to come as Ayane tries to communicate with the local cats but is rebuffed as an outsider. I’m definitely intrigued by the cat that turns invisible here. We also get to see that Rori’s dad is definitely as he always was, lifting wallets and playing loose with everything while heaping the charm out there. Rori’s dad also gets a bit more exploration as we see him dealing with something very supernatural but it’s a mystery at the moment that only Ayane sees. Oh, sweet Ayane, sleeping at the foot of the bed like a cat. So adorable. The book does a good job of connecting us with Rori and Ayane throughout this that even if you hadn’t read the series before you could enjoy it quite well and the little recap Rori gives her father fills in some of the blanks while also providing a smooth and simple summary of what happened.
The start of a new Wayward arc always seems to leave me hopeful and upbeat but then things get complicated along the way and it becomes a bit of a chore. So, with this issue I’m feeling pretty good about everything that we get and it does work as a very solid launching point for new readers. Zub keeps it all moving quite well here and Steve Cummings almost feels like he’s reinvigorated here with the visual design which pops even more thanks to what Bonvillain does with the color work. It’s a very good read and one that makes out a whole lot better by taking a slower pace with it all rather than barreling into a lot of new additions and expansions.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: September 28th, 2016