Last week, I picked up a fun–if a bit creepy–new comic called Wayward. It’s about a super-girl (of sorts) living in Japan. If you like tough girls in quirky clothes, mythological monsters, and cats, you’ll probably want to check this one out.
Rori Lane arrives in Japan with two bags. She’s moving across the world to live with her Japanese mom (since her relationship with her dad back in Ireland could be better).
As she tries to navigate the city streets, she discovers red pathways directing her path. She writes these off as effects of jet lag but follows them anyway to her mom’s apartment.
After she and her mom get reintroduced, Rori decides to explore her new home. She’s surprised when she finally discovers a deserted street in the midst of tall buildings and packed bodies.
Unfortunately, the street’s not as deserted as she thinks.
Cats follow her down the alleyway, and three men step in front of her. She’s ready to fight them off when suddenly a girl with blue hair jumps into the fray. This new arrival grabs the faces of the three men and actually rips their skin off. Rori’s shocked that her potential attackers are actually giant turtle men!
Together, Rori and the blue-haired girl fight off the turtle men and (thanks to Rori’s red-path-seeing eyes) escape. To thank Ayane (the blue-haired girl), Rori buys her a strawberry milk. Ayane sticks around long enough to explain to Rori that the turtle men are, in fact, creatures called Kappas. Rori wants to know more, but Ayane disappears before she tells her anything else.
Rori shows a lot of promise as the heroine of Wayward, but I must say Ayane stole the show. Her bright, colorful look captured my eye, and her attitude toward fighting the Kappas made me giggle. (I LOVED her request for strawberry milk too. For some reason, that’s totally endearing to me). I look forward to learning more about what exactly she is and why she has a posse of cats (or is she an amalgamation of the cats? I don’t know!).
The first issue’s plot wasn’t jam-packed, but I liked the quickie introduction to the Japanese-inspired mythology of the series. I’m a fan of folklore-themed TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural, and this felt like it could be a neat take on a similar idea. (I do want to say that while Wayward seemed similar to those shows it still never felt derivative. Buffy and Rori might both fight monsters, but their worlds and stories appear to be very different from each other.)
If I hadn’t loved the issue so much for the characters and mythology, I would have been hooked by the essays in the back. I’m a mythology and folklore nerd so the added information about the Kappas and Japanese Mythology fascinated me. (I need to look up some books on Japan before the next issue comes out. Wayward made me realize my knowledge of Japanese Folklore is sadly lacking.)
Wayward‘s one of the most fun comics I’ve ever read. I absolutely loved it. The setting, bright colors, and it’s blue haired girl drew me in. I’m definitely excited to see where this story goes next.
Wayward is written by Jim Zub with art by Steve Cummings. The next issue comes out September 24th.