It’s time for the next issue of Wayward. Does it get better and improve off what we have seen? Is it good?
Wayward #7 (Image Comics)
I’ll just get straight to the point here: Wayward #7 is okay but very flawed. This issue is very plot heavy—there are big advancements going on in the plot. We learn more about Emi’s powers, what Rori’s remaining friends have been up to since the events of the first arc, Emi joins the group and helps fight bad monsters, we check in with the villains (even meet some new ones as well), and we even get a little surprise at the end of the comic concerning the whereabouts of two characters. This is a very eventful issue and a lot of these story elements are pretty good, showing plenty of potential for how they can continue to progress forward (especially with Emi and her powers).
That being said, the comic continues to have very irritating problems when it comes to storytelling and writing. All of those new developments in the story and progress we have going on? That’s about two to possibly even three issues worth of content for a writer who will take their time exploring these new elements, characters, and decisions so that they feel fully fleshed out and really well written. Unfortunately, Jim Zub does not do any of that fleshing out or development. He instead just rushes his story and characters from plot point to plot point after a bare minimum amount of setup, if that at times. For instance, Emi starts as a scared teenage girl, who has just been thrust into a world she can’t begin to comprehend and has these strange new powers. However, in the span of a couple of pages, she just becomes this brave monster killer who just goes along with everything the characters say without much thought or question. It feels so contrived and unbelievable, even in a comic where there are supernatural Japanese monsters.
Sir, you’ll have to speak up. I can barely hear you under that robe.
The writing is weaker here than in the previous issue. The characterization isn’t as strong, since the development of Emi’s character feels lacking and rushed. Most of the characters still don’t have much in the way of personality outside of one character trait and the motivation for almost everyone feels rather hazy and unclear, outside of maybe revenge. The dialogue and narration are fine, but unremarkable and don’t really stand out much. The Japanese mythology still isn’t explored all that well and feels very superficial, just kind of like they could be interchanged with another culture’s beliefs and legends (even the Japanese Festival scene doesn’t add much). The cliffhanger is at least better than the last issue, which in hindsight, didn’t really go anywhere.
Lastly, there is the artwork by Steve Cummings and it’s probably the strongest aspect of the book. The characters are drawn well and tend to show a good range of emotion and expression to sell you on how they are feeling. The layouts are put together in a solid fashion, since everything flows together very well from panel to panel. The supernatural elements felt much stronger in the issue and allowed the artist to stretch his skills, especially when it came to the villains’ scene and seeing their designs. It’s a good looking book, but it’s a real shame the writing isn’t up to par to make use of the artwork as well as it could have.
Is It Good?
Wayward #7 feels like a step back for the series. The concept and ideas it has with its plot and characters are not bad ones at all by any stretch of the imagination and with proper time and development could really elevate the series. The problem though is that the writer just doesn’t seem to have much of an interest in exploring the things he’s introducing. The story glosses over many important details and progression just in order to get to the next plot point, making the series feel half-baked and underdeveloped. I know people love it, but the writing needs so much more work done on it that I cannot recommend this book at this time.