Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jim Zub
Art, Cover: Steve Cummings
Colours: Tamra Bonvillain
Lettering: Marshall Dillon
Alternate cover: Marguerite Sauvage
At the end of the fourth issue of Wayward, interrogating a defeated enemy, Rori understood that her mother was in serious danger. She rushes to her aid, only to find – at the start of this issue #5 – that she has fallen in the hands of a mysterious enemy, that Zack Davisson’s precious essay at the end of the book identifies as Nurarihyon, who might look like an elderly gentleman – but is nothing like one: he’s not gentle, and most definitely not a man. The judgement is suspended about his age. He is accompanied, as we already see in the cover, by four kitsune, or man-foxes (once again, their role in Japanese folklore has been described by Davisson at the end of a previous issue). The fact that they captured Rori’s mother is bad. Very bad.
The other three unwilling teenage heroes, of course, rush to the aid of their unelected leader.
This fifth issue of Wayward concludes the first story arc in the series, that will be collected in a trade paperback called String Theory (available at the end of March 2015). And it concludes it with a cliffhanger that we will not see resolved until March, as the series will go on a two-month hiatus.
The world created by Jim Zub is fascinating, merging beautifully Japanese legends and modern Tokyo. The fact that the main character, Rori, is a fluent Japanese speaker with a Japanese mother who however grew up in Ireland helps justify the fact that she’ll need some explanations here and there – explanations inserted in the story to facilitate the non-Japanese reader but that in this way end up being part of the story itself. Of course, this also makes her struggle with fitting culturally in her environment, causing her to become an outsider.
Steve Cummings’s art is very detailed, and very faithful to the real Tokyo (or at least that is what a Tokyo resident says in one of the letters at the end of this issue). Sure he manages to make every character and every environment look “real” enough, even when something supernatural is taking place. In this, his work is well completed by Tamra Bonvillain’s vivid colours.
The last story in an arc is never the best place to start reading a series, so I’d advise anyone who is curious about Wayward to start from issue #1 (or to wait for the trade paperback, although it will not include Zack Davisson’s essays); but those who have already started reading this series in the past will definitely enjoy this book, where they will find many answers – and a bunch of questions.