Maya Zach ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Wayward #2 is a blazing fast read; though it spans 24 pages, it seems to last only a few very short minutes. This is a testament to the perfect pairing of writing, and gorgeous art.
Jim Zub has a rather unique—and quite effective—method of introducing new characters to the world of Wayward. Each issue introduces Rori and the readers to one new character. The first issue revolves around Ayane, while the second focuses on Shirai. Not only does this simplify the first few issues, but it also allows for more depth within each character upon their introduction. Realistically, Rori would meet each new supernatural friend/ally one at a time, which is exactly how it plays out in Wayward.
During her lunch break, Rori’s power draws her towards Shirai, one of her classmates. Shirai turns out to be cursed; he feeds off spirit energy to survive. After consuming a spirit, he glows electric blue and receives an intense burst of power. However, he only feeds off evil spirits and tries to contain the power that he doesn’t want.
It’s hard not to empathize with Rori; she is a new student in a new country, she feels alone, and is concerned with what her new peers will think of her. This situation is hard enough without living in a city filled with monsters, and trying to understand and cope with her strange new powers. This sympathy creates an instant connection between the readers and Rori. And within just two short issues, the readers are already invested in Rori’s life, and incredibly intrigued by her newfound powers.
Unfortunately, Rori can’t cope with her new life in Japan. Within the first couple hours of her first day at school, she locks herself in the bathroom and begins cutting herself. Though she had done this in the past, she thought she had overcome those days. Just as before, though, she etches the kanji for “alone” onto her arm, which seems to center her. Though Rori might not be friends with Ayane or Shirai, she is no longer truly alone. They have gone through similar transformations as Rori, and will most likely be there to walk her through it.
The fact that Rori’s powers only began to emerge once she arrived in Japan is surely not a coincidence. There is something about the country that is truly mystical, which will hopefully be explored further throughout the series.
Steve Cummings, John Rauch and Jim Zub continue to amaze people with their gorgeous artwork. They truly outdid themselves with Shirai—both the explosion of energy and his intense look of possession and rage.
Wayward has an incredibly unique take on both monsters and Japanese culture. And Zub does an excellent job of establishing—and quickly fleshing out—his characters. The readers are instantly drawn to Cummings’ stunning artwork, stay for the well-crafted story and characters, and even read past the comic for Zack Davisson’s essays on Japanese culture. This comic has everything.