"Wayward #22" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jim Zub
Illustrated by Steven Cummings
Colored by Tamra Bonvillain
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 26th, 2017
After checking in on Japan, Wayward jumps back to Ireland as Rori buries her friend, Ayane. Secrets of her background are revealed and she learns just how much of her life she doesn’t actually control. So much has been put into place to force Rori onto this path. You could call it destiny, but this feels more like manipulation. Now she’s asked to help usher in a new age of magic in Ireland, just as she has done in Japan, but does she really have a choice?
Issues like this serve as a great reminder that although Rori possesses incredible magical abilities, she’s still just a teenager. Do you remember how angry you were at the world when you were that age? Now imagine you just found out your dad basically engineered your entire life, even sowing discord by separating from your mother. All this to generate enough power to break through a magical barrier that was preventing the new gods from passing through. ;
Rori is rightfully pissed off, but she still goes along with it. She makes it clear that after this she’s through and she’s going back home. Since she was basically created for this task, I wonder if she does feel an obligation of sorts. Otherwise, a typical teenager would probably stomp her feet and not cooperate.
|Click images to enlarge|
As tangible as Rori’s anger is, it pales in comparison to the shame that her father, Dermot, is feeling. This whole thing started out as a ploy to win this war of magic, even luring Rori’s mother to Ireland, but then he actually fell for her and cares deeply for his daughter. Yes, this is like a fantasy version of She’s All That, but you can feel the weight of it on Dermot.
There’s one panel in particular where artist Steven Cummings shows just how much this is bringing Dermot down. He’s standing there, arms crossed, held down as shadow covers his face. His eyes are closed. Here he is, quietly realizing that although he finally has everything he needs to escalate this fight he’s been having for years, he’s lost his family in the process. Is that a price he’s ready to pay?
It’s amazing how seamlessly Wayward includes creatures from different folklore. We saw a plethora of different monsters and magical beings in Japan. Now we’re exploring similar ones in Ireland. Both countries are going through the same transition between old and new gods. Ireland’s has been stifled by the old gods who won’t give up the goat, whereas Japan’s were caught seemingly unaware. I was a little put off by this at first since I was really enjoying the adventures in Japan. It has really grown on me, thanks mostly to Cummings’ artwork. I’d be happy to see him illustrate monsters from all over the world if this comic is any indication of what he’s capable of.
|Click image to enlarge|
Tamra Bonvillain’s colors set the mood for the comic. It opens with a sunrise, which sets a somber tone as Rori puts Ayane to rest. This brightness flows directly into Rori’s anger at her father’s secrets, amplified by her red hair and glowing energy. Later on, when she confronts some underwater creatures, the colors are darker, as the scene is deadlier. Rori’s energy is the only light source, pulsing away as she’s pulled deeper and deeper under the waves.
Unsurprisingly, I’m curious as to where Rori’s path will take her next and if she’ll decide to stay on it. Wayward has a strong female character at its heart and she’s clearly not going to get pushed around. If she’s still learning her powers, I can’t wait to see what happens when she reaches her full potential.