Released this week, we’re heading into the depths of Tokyo, the Tokyo you don’t see on the beaten tourist track, in this month’s issue of Wayward. After making a new friend by beating the crap out of him, Rori realises that she has more than high school to worry about.

There are spoilers in this review.

Puzzling things out

Wayward issue three img 1Rori, like us, is not completely sure of her new position as someone who seems deeply attuned to the world around her and especially supernatural stuff. She’s making friends, which is good, because I was feeling pretty sorry for her after the events of the previous issue. However, I’m surprised by how easily the few characters that know what she can do have accepted her. After they kick the ass of a “crazy bones”, there’s this almost self reflective moment where Rori is wondering if she can really lead the likes of Ayane and the new guys. She tries carefully to suggest how things should go and the other three just accept her suggestion: we’re not given any chance to see their thought processes in accepting the judgement of a character who has been demonstrated as being an outside influence.

Though at the same time, their easy acceptance of Rori does nicely set-up how in what should be her reality now that she’s living in Tokyo (high school, studying for exams) is not where she is accepted. Instead Rori is finding her place outside of the acceptable. It’s an intriguing teasing out of Rori’s otherness that makes her seem normal, and then makes the easy acceptance of her by Ayane and co unremarkable. Still, I think there needed to be more done to show why they should accept Rori.

Building suspense

Wayward issue three img 2The issue seemed to be mainly concerned with introducing factions. You had some old guy and kitsune spirits foisted into one corner, overall sense of good or bad unknown. Then it was Rori, Ayane and co in another corner. Then finally we had some super secret organisation in another. Rori and her new friends seemed more like super hero pals than the Scoobies, which I assume was more what Zub and Cummings were aiming for with the pronouncement that the series is meant to be Buffy for a new generation.

Right now, everyone seems powerful and only one of them has any weaknesses: Rori and her use of self-harm to help her deal with her anxiety. During the fight against the crazy bones, the newly formed team seemed quite able at beating down on a mean demonic spirit, without their injuries being life threatening. Of course I can also see how this enables the characters to be portrayed as feeling like they’re unstoppable before having a big fall that they will then have to crawl up from. The level of cockiness just needed to be a little less.

Worth reading

EmcouldbebetterThe revelations of just which sides are forming in the series’ universe mean that this issue sets-up a great deal that I do want to read more about in issue four. My only issues around issue three are around how the characters are being built-up, overall the story is quite fun to read and I’m glad that Rori wasn’t treated as badly in this issue. I can’t shake the feeling, though, that this issue was more filler than killer.

Wayward chapter three is out now, published by Image Comics. Our reviewer bought their own copy digitally.