After a couple month hiatus Wayward has returned with the latest story arc.
I wasn’t too into the last issue or the opening arc, but maybe things will change as this second arc sets in. Is it good?
Wayward #6 (Image Comics)
So we cut to three months later and to a different character named Chara Emi. She was a girl at the same school Lori went to and her life is mundane and repetitive. Same routine day in and day out… until one day when that all changes, naturally.
Wayward #6 both introduces us to a brand new character and lays down some more mysteries. It briefly alludes to what happened at the end of the last arc and even a bit of how the world reacted to the events (a building did blow up if you recall), leaving an air of mystery that hovers over what is happening. What happened to the characters that disappeared? What is going on with the characters who were left behind? Why are we focusing on this new character? There are questions like that you’ll probably be thinking of as you read.
Also, get used to the narration. It’ll be following you for the rest of the comic.
That being said, this issue wasn’t exactly the best way for this comic to return. Half of the issue is just Chara narrating what her life is like and while it does paint a good picture of who she is and where she is coming from, it does make the beginning a bit tedious to read with how slow it feels. The second half is when the story starts picking up, but the increased pace isn’t without its issues either; Wayward is just going too fast for its own good, quickly introducing new and exciting things rapidly with little time for reflection or for us to really take them in. It’s nowhere as bad as previous issues, but the pacing here does make the comic feel like it is speeding through or glossing over events. It makes for an uneven experience.
Jim Zub’s writing is a bit hit or miss unfortunately. The characterization for Chara is fine and paints a good picture of her, but for the characters that do return in the book, it still feels like we haven’t gotten much from them. They still feel underdeveloped and unexplored and have had very little background divulged.. The dialogue and narration are a mixed bag. Sometimes the dialogue is fine and sometimes it feels stilted, with the same going for the narration (“I ignore the people around me and escape into manga stories.” Seriously? “Manga stories”?). The story structure isn’t too bad, but the pacing is too erratic at points. The ending, unless you are familiar with the concept and myth of Jorōgumo, probably won’t really mean anything to you and even then, it’s kind of an odd point to leave off on.
The artwork by Steve Cummings and Tamra Bonvillain is still looking solid. The characters are drawn well (some female characters do have similar looking faces though), the layouts are fine, the creature and more supernatural designs are decent, and the coloring is good. Outside of two pages (one page feels slightly silly due to the dialogue where a character is completely underreacting to what she is seeing), which are drawn pretty well and are creepy looking, there’s not much to really look at here though. This isn’t the best issue to show off the strengths of the artist or really allow for him to cut loose.
Is It Good?
Wayward #6 is not a bad issue, but it’s not all that great either. It does a solid job of introducing a new main character to the cast (who’s better written and has more development than most in the comic) and setting up some interesting mysteries to what happened between this issue and the last, but the writing and pacing are just not up to snuff. There are just still too many underdeveloped components, the pacing is erratic at points, and other small problems that add up. At this point, if you liked the comic up until now, you’ll probably like it just fine here. However, if you are still not sure at this point, this issue won’t change your mind.