Review: Wayward #9

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Wayward09-cover

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jim Zub
Art, Cover: Steve Cummings
Colours: Tamra Bonvillain
Lettering: Marshall Dillon
Alternate cover: Gurihiru

In issue #8 of Wayward Rori Lane and her friend Shirai, who are presumed dead, reappear in the gardens of a temple where they are helped by an elderly lady with a special relation with cats; she calls herself “Auntie Ayane”, very likely a link of some kind with the young cat-girl of the same name who fought along Rori until the latter disappeared. Shirai seems to be “unravelling”, but Rori manages to save him using her powers. Meanwhile Ayane, Nikaido and Ohara are discussing their next move in their war against the demons that seem to be slowly invading Tokyo. They have an argument, and Ayane runs away only to come back covered in huge dirt spiders, who apparently plan to help them in their fight.

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Issue #9 opens with a flashback on a group of demons led by Daranibō (the daitengu – resident demon – of Mount Fuji) attacking a village, clearly quite some time in the past. He seems to be looking for a specific girl, but the attack is interrupted by the arrival of the Great Tengu, who is equally merciless. In the present, Nikaido and Ayane explain that the dirt spiders are indeed helpful creatures.

The dangers our unwilling group of heroes have to face are growing more urgent, while Rori is discovering more and more about her powers – realising that they are not (only) what she thought they were. In this issue of Wayward Jim Zub takes us through a huge number of surprising twists, as always written and crafted so to seem perfectly logical in context. Steve Cummings supports the story in Wayward, that is becoming more epic with every issue, with brilliant art. His landscapes are stunning, and the detail in each and every character (human or not) is incredible.

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Like Ohara Emi, every reader who doesn’t have a deep interest in Japanese mythology will have been surprised by the idea that huge, ugly spiders can be “good guys”. To help us place their existence in context, at the end of the book we find, as usual, a brilliant essay by an expert in Japanese culture, Zack Davisson, who tells us the story of the tsuchigumo (so are the dirt/earth spiders called in Japanese).

Once again, Wayward managed to go past my expectations – which are pretty high with this series. The next issue will conclude the second story arc, so I’d suggest to start catching up fast.

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