Publisher: Image Comics Writer: Jim Zub Art: Steve Cummings Colours: John Rauch & Jim Zub Lettering: Marshall Dillon Wayward introduces us to the strange world of young Rori Lane, the daughter of an Irishman and a Japanese woman. She grew up in Ireland, but speaks fluent Japanese. Since her parents split up and her mother moved back to Tokyo, Rori has been dreaming to leave her father, with whom she has a strained relationship, to join her mother in Japan. The story begins on her flight to Tokyo. As soon as she reaches the Japanese metropolis, she has a very peculiar experience, something that clearly had never happened to her before: when she’s asking for directions, the road she needs to take simply materialises before her, a red line showing her the way. Due to the culture shock and the jet lag, she dismisses this as simply a very weird experience and carries on with her life.
When she goes for a walk in the city, though, something else happens, and she meets someone who helps her and… someone who doesn’t. Also, she realises that finding directions and ways out is a power she has, along with incredible agility. Jim Zub throws in this first issue of Wayward just enough clues to what will probably happen in the (creator-owned) series to intrigue the reader without giving out too much. We get to see Kappas, straight from the ancient Japanese myths, and human animals, and we wander and wonder with Rori, closing this issue with more doubts than we had at the start.
The introductory part is maybe a little long, but it is absolutely necessary to set up the story as it deserves. The dialogues are well written, and the writer avoids the trap of making the “translated from Japanese” passages sound like a mockery of how a Japanese person would sound in English. Only what Ayane says seems a bit “off”, but it’s easy to guess why… The art is very interesting. It has just a touch of manga, as can be expected in a comic set in Japan, but it’s not overwhelming. All in all, an entertaining first issue that gives high hopes for what will follow.