Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wayward #5 Review

Wayward #5
IMAGE COMICS SUPERNATURAL SENSATION! The first story arc ends. Revelation and sacrifice.
Rori has barely adjusted to a new culture, a new school, and the discovery of the supernatural in Tokyo, when she and her newly found friends are faced with powerful revelations…and loss.  
Jim Zub demonstrates his mastery in storytelling, moving beyond his humor in Skullkickers and Legends of Baldur’s Gate, to expertly blend Western and Eastern story elements in the most ambitiously paced chapter of this story so far.   Tamra Bonvillian’s use of blue and contrasting red emphasizes nonstop action, mystical elements, and the emotional impact of the story.   The reader is still learning with Rori the nature and extent of her powers and the role of supernatural elements in her and her friend’s lives.
One of the prominent features of Wayward is that Toyko is more than just the setting; it is as integral and part of the story as Hogwarts was to Harry Potter.  Zack Davisson’s essays into Japanese folklore at the end of the issue continue to be fan-favorites, and will be missed in the first paperback collection due in February; hopefully this omission will be corrected in future editions.
The level of violence and content elevates this series to the more mature YA readers and above. I would feel comfortable sharing this with my almost-15 year old daughter, but would want parental approval before recommending this issue to anyone younger.   Case in point, Rori’s cuts on her arm appear again since their first controversial appearance.  Originally, this aspect about Rori was off-putting to many readers.  Zub contrasts the issue of self-mutilation with Rori reaching an epiphany in that she is not alone; the message I would imagine relevant to such a complex issue.  Although the timing of this self-realization may stretch the credibility of the reader, considering Rori’s loss suffered in this issue, the message is presented beautifully in a well-crafted sequence.
For music to listen to increase enjoyment of this issue, Japanese Popstars Radio on Pandora can emphasize the manga influences well, but it is challenging to find just the right fit for such a wonderful blend of different cultural elements within the story.  Feel free to add any musical suggestions in the comments!
All in all, this wonderful issue reinforces that Wayward is an epic in the making, and an excellent example of the variety of well-written, drawn, and colored series in the comic book market today. Having to wait until February to learn the fallout of these events is the most challenging part of this series.
Rating: ★★★★

I give Wayward #5  4.5 out of 5 kappa and kitsunes.

Written and Reviewed by: 
 Joe Iconic
Game On! Comics

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