Wayward #1 is a new supernatural action comic from Image Comics, dubbed ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a new generation’ – only with monsters from Japanese folklore mixed in! Is this combination the start of another Godzilla-sized monster hit or will it end up deserving to be buried deep within the rest of Japanese folklore.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist:Steve Cummings(art),John Rauch & Jim Zub(colours), Marshall Dillion(letters), Zach Davisson (back matter)
Price: £1.99/$2.99 from ComiXology or from the Image Comics Digital Store
Wayward #1 begins the story of Rori Lane, a half chinese, half Irish teenager who is on her way to Japan to live with her divorced mother after a (yet unknown) argument with her father. Upon landing in Tokyo, Rori finds that her new home city is very different to what she had imagined, with crowded streets, tall buildings and human sized turtle monsters in disguise trying to kill her. Fortunately, Rori isn’t the only person to have seen these creatures and, lucky for her, this other person may know more than she does.
While this story is certainly one which imbues the spirit of a Buffy-like adventure, it is undone by a lack of exposition. This is particularly apparent in anything concerning the development of the protagonist who doesn’t feel fully fleshed out enough to empathise with. Of course, this may simply be a case of ‘too early in the story’, but it is a concern when the reader is not given enough to connect to the character being followed. Writer Jim Zub puts together some good action sequences towards the end, but unfortunately it is not enough to retain interest throughout the whole first issue.
This isn’t to say that Wayward #1 is a bad comic and it does have some terrific qualities, in partcular the artwork of Steve Cummings. Providing a consistent quality of pencils throughout which appear almost as a fusion between manga and contemporary western styles, they are augmented by Rauch and Zub’s colours which really make the panels vibrant and feel alive.
Another nice touch is the back up material in the final pages, where Zach Davisson gives plenty of historical and cultural backstory to some of the themes found on the story, which is very informative and interesting.