Written by Jim Zub
Art by Steve Cummings
When Wayward, the new series from writer Jim Zub(kavich), whose Skullkickers is a riot of a book, first debuted, I wasn't sure if I was interested in it or not. I like Zub's writing on the other title, but that is a more comedic comic, and is something I never thought I'd want to read (it's a really special comic). This looked more serious, but I wasn't sure if it was going to grab me. Luckily, Image keeps the price low on first volumes of new series when they are published in trade, and since I was standing in front of Zub at a convention, I felt like I had no reason not to buy this.
This series is centred on Rori Lane, a mixed heritage Japanese-Irish teenage girl, who has moved to Tokyo to live with her mother, who she has not seen in a year. Almost immediately upon landing in Japan, Rori starts to notice reddish lines that connect her to her destinations, that no one else can notice.
On her first night, she is attacked by a trio of kappa, folkloric turtle-creatures that appear much more dangerous than how they are usually depicted. A strange girl, Ayane, appears to help her out. As the story progresses, Rori meets two other kids who have abilities, and stumbles across a plot by some other characters from Japanese folklore, who have evil deeds in mind. It seems that Rori is a weaver, and this has something to do with her mother.
The easiest comparison to make here is to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We have the inherited abilities, the idiosyncratic group of peers, and a winking acknowledgement of the story's debt to its genre forebears.
This is an engaging read, with nice art, and a strong sense of place. I think, had I read these issues individually with a month between them, I would not have made it to issue five. In the trade, there's a better sense of the larger story, but I'm not sure that there is still enough here to really keep me interested for the long haul. I would think that this book would appeal to teens, but the level of profanity would keep it from be shelved in a lot of libraries where it would be most welcome.