Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jim Zub
Art, Cover: Steven Cummings
Colours: Tamra Bonvillain with Brittany Peer
Lettering: Marshall Dillon
Alternate cover: Amanda Schank
Issue #19 of Wayward had brought us to Japan, where Shirai had a… strange interaction with an enormous demon while Nurarihyon, the leader of the Yokai, had a Tsukimono taking over the body of the Japanese Minister of Defence. But the first pages of this new issue, despite the cover, bring us back to Ireland, that we had left in issue #18 (we’ll visit Japan later). In it, after a fight against a Ganacanagh that left Ayane injured, Rori and her father Dermot accompanied by the Japanese cat girl left the village only to end up surrounded by apparently vengeful spirits.
This #20 opens with the usual flashback on Dermot who, for reasons we still ignore, destroyed his family, driving his wife away “for the greater good”. Then we get back to the present, where Rori and Dermot are forced to fight an army of Sluagh there to claim the soul of poor Ayane. Who are the Sluagh? As Ann O’Regan explains in the very interesting essay at the end of the book, they are the souls of people so evil that even Hell didn’t want them. Nice guys, then.
Wayward remains one of my favourite series, with the cultural references – to Japan and, in this story arc, to Ireland – not dropped in order to look clever but carefully researched; and the premise at the basis of the whole series, that has been hinted at from the start but will finally be made clear in this #20, is absolute genius – and suggests that we might get to see a little more of the world with Wayward. Maybe. Hopefully.
And the quality of the art matches the quality of the story, with even the smallest details highlighted in a perfectly natural way.
Wayward, then. As I just called it “one of my favourite series”, well… I can’t do anything if not suggest you to read it!