Wayward #5 launched last week, bringing the first arc of Jim Zub and Steve Cummings’ new series to a close. It’s a culmination of everything they’ve been building the last few months, but the explosive finale left me a bit underwhelmed.
The book opens on Rori in the subway tunnel with the rest of her small group of supernatural fighters. She’s putting the pieces together and realizes her mother is in danger. She flies through the busy streets of Tokyo, a red blur invisible to the pedestrians. She arrives to find her mother at the hands of a spirit identified as Nurarihyon and the group of kitsune we saw introduced in the earlier issues. An epic battle ensues and the group will be changed forever by the result.
As the series progressed, I found that Zub struck a great balance between characterization and action. That’s notably absent here as the issue is almost entirely focused on the action. The first few pages of the story lost me. Rori was suddenly fully in control of her powers and moving so fast that I thought I had missed a page. The book jumps right into the action and doesn’t slow down until the final pages. It’s exciting and a spectacle to behold, but the rushed beginning didn’t help me fully appreciate it.
The other part of the story that didn’t work for me is the main villain of the piece. He’s been hinted at in previous issues, but for reasons unclear he has come out of the shadows and launched an attack on Rori’s mother. I expected more answers to close out the arc, but I was left with more questions than ever. It’s great for drawing the reader in, but without at least some answers it won’t keep their attention.
Though the story fell short this issue, the action was pretty incredible. The group comes together to form an awesome team of fighters and battle it out with the yokai forces. Steve Cummings once again delivers gorgeous art and surprisingly detailed environments for this epic clash. While some of the detail is lost on some of the busier pages, overall the book is beautiful. Tamra Bonvillain works magic with her colors, especially depicting Rori’s powers.
This issue might not have delivered all that I wanted, but it was a fine ending to the first arc. It’s fast-paced fun with some of the best art on the shelves. If you haven’t been reading Wayward, the trade collecting the first arc will be out in March. However, I’d recommend tracking down the back issues so you don’t miss out on Zack Davisson’s awesome essays and back matter.