Comic Book Review: Wayward #20
This story arc for ‘Wayward” I admit was tricky to follow. Since the end of the last story arc we have been following three different stories. Dermot and Sanae in the past, Rori in Ireland, and the others back in Tokyo. While the storytelling still has quality to it, events have been progressing at a much slower pace.
This issue of “Wayward” is different from those previous. There has been this pattern where one issue we are in Ireland, and the next we are back in Tokyo. If it weren’t for the fact that most issues were worth the wait, it could have become easy to get frustrated moving back and forth. For this last part of the story arc things actually pick up from where the last ended. In other words Rori, Dermot and Ayane not in the best position. While doom and gloom filled the atmosphere, this was exciting as still we are journeying into the unknown. Even for just a short moment it was a highlight for remembering Rori and Ayane at their best when tossed into the fray. This is not to say that they are more appealing in action, but both have been knocked far out of their comfort zone.
It was predictable what the unfortunate event was that we had to look forward to by the end. However, this did not change how the loss would affect us. This was a character we found ourselves fond of since the first issue. Jim Zub has had no problem pulling the rip chord with this character being no exception. Who knows how this will affect the tone of the story down the road, but you can assume that we have lost a vital element which engaged us in the fun there is to jumping into uncertainty.
What disappointed about this trip through the Emerald Isle was that it took much longer than we could have hoped to see the importance of where this new world of magic was taking us. Here and now things started to become clear, but that took till the last part of this arc. The gist of this world and age of gods was understood for the most part, though our understanding is better than ever knowing now what relevance this holds on a global scale.
The story of Dermot and Sanae has been a treat since Jim Zub decided this was the time to tell their tale. This series started off where their family was torn apart, but the question was how. It was a steady progression getting a bit every issue. Could we have taken a single or few issues to flesh out the story at once? Sure, but for the way this was fleshed out over time it matched perfectly to what was going on currently between Rori and her father. When we first arrived to the Emerald Isle both stories carried the same tone in beauty and innocence. Then from there both stories progressively picked up in intensity as growing frustrations came to the surface with this family. In general the past was key to understanding the present.
The story here was only as emotional as the art could convey. Steve Cummings up to this point has captured the emotion perfectly through these characters, though this was the first time he had to really bring out that look of despair and loss. Leaning to more of an American style of penciling helped a lot because you didn’t want to lose the impact of expressions that could look too cartoonish. This started with the tearing apart of Dermot and Sanae. Drawing that line in the sand between her heartbreak and his cold presence was key to understanding that this was the breaking point. Cummings didn’t let up there. For Ayane in particular it caught your eye to see the struggle of her dying versus trying to stay true to her nature. With every flip of the page he kept pushing the deterioration of her health as there was only so long that she could keep going. If there’s one character it seems like he enjoys drawing more, it has to be Ayane who serves as immovable in the worst of situations. Her ability to really get into the action is a plus. Not as wild or all over the place as we are used to seeing, but for that very action sequence they all fairly adapted. Now as far as creativeness goes, The Fomoire was a step in the right direction in what we could visually take from what the world of Druids looks like.
Again between Tamra Bonvillain and Brittany Peer you can see the distinctive styles in colors. When it came down to the story of Dermot and Sanae, advantage was taken in bringing out a brighter selection to capture simpler times. Drama aside that is. Bonvillain steps up this issue as this was the most magic involved for majority of the story arc. That meant bolder colors, and yet colors precise enough to represent the metaphysical. The Sluagh required a touch of precision as we got to see what Bonvillain could do with a wheel of blues in comparison to red. For the rest of the issue, her choice in darker colors stood out beyond just the time of day. It set the mood and atmosphere for how dangerous the Emerald Isle can be in comparison to Tokyo. This was a place where trouble lies right around the corner, and that is the sense she created through the darkness which surrounded them.
Concluding another story arc, “Wayward” continues to find new ways each month to further our investment in this world, and this issue was no exception. Saving the world is easier said than done. This creative team pulls no punches in the sacrifices you face along the way.