"Wayward #10" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jim Zub
Illustrated by Steve Cummings
2015, 32 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on July 29th, 2015
It's not every day that a group of kids with strange powers attacks a handful of priests at a temple in Japan, but that's how this issue of Wayward starts out. Of course, we quickly learn that all is not as it seems, as the priests literally tear off their flesh in a rather unsettling panel to reveal their true forms as bird people. A battle ensues as the second arc of this series comes to a close, bringing the big picture into focus.
There have been many questions that have arisen over Wayward's run thus far. Five teenagers with unique yet unexplained abilities popped up in Japan and have been fighting creatures from the country's folklore from the beginning. It's been an enjoyable read and writer Jim Zub really starts putting some big pieces together here to give us an idea of where the series is going next.
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A major part of that is the return of Rori, the “Buffy” of this group of super-powered teens. She has been missing since the conclusion of the first arc and has been slowly making her way back, unbeknownst to Ayane and the others. Her powers have been dramatically amplified to the point that she's essentially a god. She displays some of these new talents in increasingly scary ways. At first she was just able to see the ties between people and things, like lines connecting them that only she could see. Now she can manipulate those threads in major ways that affect everyone around her. She's really come into her own, standing confident and strong now instead of the unsure girl we saw when the book began.
Going back to this one for a moment, although these kids are fighting monsters and other creatures from Japanese folklore, their methods are rather rudimentary. Ohara's ability is to absorb the qualities of certain materials. She walks into battle with an iron rod, turning her arms into metal, and proceeds to beat the crap of these bird priests like she was Tonya Harding and they were Nancy Kerrigan. (Yes, that was an incredibly dated reference that maybe three of you got.) I do love how artist Steve Cummings shows this quality in Ohara. Her arms look robotic, with screws and metal pieces overlapping along it. This, coupled with her innocent schoolgirl look, is a nice touch. It gives her a sci-fi appearance, like she's a machine girl.
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What is particularly creepy in this issue are all the spiders. If you have any fear of the arachnids at all, you'll going to be skeeved out this time around. The part that really got me was how the small ones were riding along with Ohara. They were on her face and in her ears. There's a terrific panel with a woman surrounded by webs and large spiders crawling around her. By large, I mean like the size of small children.
Wayward's shift puts it on par with Neil Gaiman's American Gods in terms of size and scale. Jim Zub and Steve Cummings are gearing up for an epic battle of the gods with Rori and her friends right in the middle of it. This issue ends with a rather awesome shot that fills you with anticipation of what's to come. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a few months before we get to see the next chapter. At the very least, we get an idea of where the book's title comes from.