"Wayward #12" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jim Zub
Illustrated by Steven Cummings
2015, 32 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on December 16th, 2015
Japan has changed. The old gods are on the run and the new ones are rising up. There's a battle brewing between these two factions. Both are gathering their forces and deciding their next move. Of course, having a chaotic force like Ayane in the mix isn't helping, especially when she jumps into a crowded street with a couple of bats covered in razor blades.
Wayward has really picked up its pace with its third arc. The creators took time to really establish the characters and the world surrounding them over the first ten issues. Now everything is coming together and it's pretty awesome. At first these mysterious powers developed among a handful of teenagers. Now we've learned that each represents a modern day element of Japan's culture, manifesting itself in these abilities, making the kids the new gods of the country.
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While everyone is plotting, Ayane jumps into action. She's “…a shape changer formed from energy channeled through generations of cats.” Writing it out like that, it sounds a little hokey, but I assure you it's anything but. She's quickly becoming my favorite character and her thirst for bloodshed is definitely a contributing factor. She is absolutely brutal with those bats. There's this fantastic panel that really illustrates the essence of the character in the midst of all this violence. It's a close up of her face, framed by her two bladed weapons. Blood is splattered all over her...and she's smiling. There's this look of pure joy on her face. She's in her element and she could not be happier. This isn't the first time we've seen something like this (see also issue #10), but damn, does artist Steven Cummings do a brilliant job with this.
Nikaido joins the fight in a big way, showing how he can ingest and shoot out emotions at will. He can manipulate a crowd and really pack a punch. When he unleashes this power, it's a gory scene with blood and guts flying everywhere while he stands calmly to the sidelines. When I saw that panel, I said, “Holy shit” out loud. Then I turned the page and one the characters had the exact same reaction.
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The cast of characters has expanded a bit with the introduction of Segawa in the last issue. Although he's a new god, he's been taken in by Nurarihyon, a leader within the old ones, (aka Yokai). Segawa can control electricity and networks which potentially makes him one of the most powerful in the bunch. I'm very curious as to what plans Nurarihyon has for him.
If you're not completely plugged into Wayward by now, I don't know what's wrong with you. Although the characters are still finding themselves, they're all so relatable and, more importantly, real. They come across so naturally that when they suddenly find themselves in this situation where they are fighting for not only their lives but perhaps the future of Japan, you can't help but be glued to the page. Each issue adds to the ever growing mythos and pulls me in deeper, leaving me greatly anticipating the next chapter. It might have started as “Buffy in Japan”, but it's so much more than that now.
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