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Wayward #17 Review

4 min read

wayward-issue-17-coverA whiplash of events.

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

What They Say:
Back in Japan, the aftermath of the battle and the treacherous road ahead.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With Wayward back on track it’s definitely a good time to be a fan, though it’s also just a touch frustrating. I really enjoy what Zub, Cummings and Bonvillain are doing with this book but it continues to be written in a way that has me feeling like it needs to be read in marathon/compiled form. With the gaps that happen between arcs, a lack of reminding us who is who, and a lot of stories going on with a cast that’s grown, it’s hard to reconnect with the characters as it’s written because it’s designed to be read in full. It’s a small thing overall but a frustrating one when trying to get into a new issue as it arrives amid dozens of other books that I go through on a month to month basis.

This issue gives us another taste of Rori’s parents from when they first met and it’s a fun bit of cultural exchange as he’s kind of a jerk in a lot of ways and she certainly gives back as much as he puts out with it to put him in his place. I like seeing this kind of odd courtship that’s unfolding but would rather it be all in one issue to get the full story rather than piecemeal. What we do get here is pretty cute and knowing that Sanae can handle her alcohol isn’t a surprise considering what we saw of her earlier in the run. That’s just a few pages though as the book instead takes us back to Japan for the bulk of it where Inaba and the couple of others she’s with are dealing with Nura and his push to get them to either surrender or die. It goes about as you’d expect with Inaba opting to run like hell when the opportunity presents itself and it’s a pretty fun chase/escape sequence that ends in a pretty serious way that made me cringe knowing how bad it could be.

Where the book was a good bit of fun is the arrival of Shirai and Ohara as they end up elsewhere in the city and are trying to keep low and avoid being caught. With the knowledge of who is after them, it’s a damn smart move. Of course, the two have to end up in a love hotel with an all-night booking in order to be out of sight for a while and there’s some silly awkwardness that comes from that as they work through their recovery. I like both of these characters so getting a feel for them in this environment with some downtime is a plus, even if it comes across as trying to push the sexuality side at a time when it’s not really needed. What saves it from being too predictable is Cummings artwork with the way the panels flow and the quiet time that’s leading to the bigger problems they’re going to face.

Definitely take the time to read Zack Davisson’s piece in the back of the book that talks about the truth and realities of love hotels and sexuality in Japan as it captures it well compared to the sensationalized versions that exist.

In Summary:
Wayward has spent its time recently in Ireland with some good stuff to cover there and it touches upon that here again to good effect. But it spends the bulk of its time in the present in Japan and shows us more of what’s going down in the fight with Nura and his larger goals upon working alongside others to achieve victory. It’s a kind of chaotic issue in a lot of ways with what Inaba ends up doing, but it’s bookended by some really good material. Zub keeps the dialogue moving (please, a few more name mentions though for casual readers!) and Cummings continues to just make this book look fantastic, especially with what Bonvillain brings to the page with the color design to give it some real pop and vibrancy. Good stuff overall that I’m hoping to one day just read through in one massive sitting to see if it all connects stronger.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: October 26th, 2016
MSRP: $2.99