Arriving in comic book stores this, the third week of December 2014, is the fifth issue of Wayward. This intriguing new fantasy comic book series is the creation of writer Jim Zub and penciller Steve Cummings. 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.
Wayward #5 (“Chapter Five”) opens after the battle in the decommissioned subway tunnels beneath Ueno Park. Rori and her “gang” of fellow supernatural types, Ayane, Shirai, and Nikaido narrowly defeated a band of monsters. Rori discovered, however, from the leader of their attackers, that all was not what it seemed. Now, Rori races home, sensing that her mother, Sanae, is in danger. It is actually worse and more complicated that she imagines.
THE LOWDOWN: As with previous issues, the ComicBookBin received an advanced review PDF copy of Wayward #5 that writer Jim Zub sent to reviewers. This fifth issue is also the close of the series' first story arc (“String Theory”). Wayward is going on a two-month hiatus and will return in March 2015.
Zub and Cummings leave us with a beautifully drawn and exceptionally told series, and while they leave us with many questions, they also leave us caught in the weave. We want to be Wayward. With each new issue, Wayward expands its scope without losing its great sense of mystery. With similarities to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, yokai manga, and Harry Potter, Wayward is that amazing new fantasy series we've been waiting for DC Comics' Vertigo imprint to give us. Instead, Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, and Image Comics have given it to us. Gimme more.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Readers looking for urban fantasy and for magic and mystery will want to stay on the Wayward path.
[Wayward #5 contains another engrossing essay, “Hyakki Yagyo and the Yokai Invasion,” by Zack Davisson (@ZackDavisson), with art by Steve Cummings.]