After a brief hiatus, Wayward is back with the next story arc and a new character in the fight against evil. Jim Zub and Steve Cummings pick up three months after they left off, choosing to explore the aftermath of the first arc through outsider Ohara Emi’s eyes. It was a strange choice to take a step back from Rori and the gang, but one that paid off in this first issue.
Ohari Emi is an ordinary Japanese student. Her days are structured and feature very little deviations from her routine. She takes the train to school, walks home, eats dinner and studies before waking up and starting it all over again. Ohari longs for some excitement, like what she reads in her manga. Unfortunately, when her hands begin melting the world around her, she gets more excitement that she could possibly want.
In many ways, this issue reads like the first issue of Wayward. It’s accessible to new readers, while maintaining the high quality writing and storyline of the series thus far. Ohari is an interesting lens for viewing the world of Wayward and she serves this issue well as the protagonist. Fans of the first arc will miss Rori, but her cameo in this issue will more than suffice for now.
Zub nails the writing in this issue. The story is beautifully paced out, making the lengthy introduction to Ohari double as a world-building device. As the action ramps up, the book picks up speed and thrusts our protagonist into the supernatural world. The dialogue is strong and witty, specifically from returning characters Ayane and Nikaido. One scene in particular stands out, where Ayane has just beaten the life out of one of the Kitsune. She stands covered in blood and declares “we’re the good guys!” to a shocked Ohari. It could have been a bit unnerving, but it comes across as an endearing moment that is a testament to Zub’s skill.
Cummings comes back from the break with artwork that is just as gorgeous as the first five issues, if not more so. The ease with which he combines the supernatural and a realistic Tokyo is astounding. His paneling enhances the pacing that works so well in this issue, sweeping the reader up in the action. The fight scene comes across light hearted and fun, regardless of the violence actually occurring. Colorist Tamra Bonvillain brings it home with fantastic colors that brighten up the story. Topping the issue off is another great essay by Zack Davisson, this time detailing the family structure in Japan.
Zub and Cummings are back and in fine form. Wayward #6 is the perfect jumping-on point for new readers, so if you have any interest in Japanese folklore or teens fighting the supernatural, this is the book for you.