Arriving in comic book stores this, the fourth week of November 2014, is the fourth issue of Wayward. This is the intriguing new fantasy comic book series from writer Jim Zub (Skullkickers) and penciller Steve Cummings and published by Image Comics. Wayward focuses on Rori Lane, a half-Irish/half-Japanese teen girl. Rori is trying to start a new life in Japan with her mother, Sanae, only to find herself connected to the magic and ancient creatures that lurk in the shadows of Tokyo.
As Wayward #4 (“Chapter Four”) opens, Rori is trying to keep doing the mundane things in life (like attending school), even after experiencing so much of the supernatural. She gathers her “gang” of fellow supernatural types: Ayane, Shirai, and Nikaido for a supernatural pow-wow. Their meeting is centered around answering the question, “What does each of us know about the supernatural?” In the decommissioned subway tunnels beneath Ueno Park, Rori finds the kind of answers that are really just more questions.
THE LOWDOWN: The ComicBookBin received the advanced review PDF copy of Wayward #4 that writer Jim Zub sent to reviewers. It's much appreciated, but do I feel obligated to give Wayward a good review because Zub gives me a chance to read one of my favorite comic books a little early? Actually, I feel obligated to break into Zub's house or into the Image Comics offices, whichever one allows me to read future issues of Wayward now.
Seriously, I like Wayward... a lot. Instead of comparing it to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I compare it to Harry Potter in the following way. Potter was essentially a series of mystery novels, in which the hero and his allies traveled to unknown, but fantastic places; they dealt with a growing cast of characters, each character having shifting alliances and secretive motivations. The endgame was not just to discover a villain, but to also unravel a far-reaching conspiracy that was born in the past and could determine the future, as well as the fate of countless people.
Wayward offers a mystery that is as unknown as it is alluring. Like Rori following the glowing threads that guide (or lead) her, we don't know where this mystery will take us, but let's follow! Rori is not so much Buffy fighting monsters as she is like Harry Potter guiding us into a fantastic labyrinth of conspiracies and old secrets.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Readers looking for urban fantasy and for magic and mystery will want to keep going Wayward.
[Wayward #4 contains the engrossing essay, “Tokyo Underground,” by Zack Davisson (@ZackDavisson), with art by Steve Cummings.]