A review copy was provided by Jim Zub.
For a comic series that features a band of essentially vagabond children, Wayward #8 does a lot more of what it does best: getting you attached to each character. As an added treat, Rori Lane and Shirai return to the storyline and will soon be reunited with the team. As they stumble upon what looks like the origins of Ayane’s mysterious cat-being powers, they are closer than ever to discovering their place in the weave of events.
The cover art of Wayward #8 is of an old woman surrounded by cats as she washes up a shrine. If that doesn’t already remind you of one lovable and prominent character, the blurb promises clues about Ayane and her furry friends/relatives. This is also the site where Rori and Shirai crash-land out of their red weave flurry in hopes of escaping somewhere safe for the time being.
The kindly old caretaker mistakes them for drunk teenagers, and is patient with a confused Rori as she doesn’t quite remember what happened when she was out for the count as well. Interestingly enough her name is Ayane as well.
Cut back to Emi’s squad and our Ayane, we find out they’ve been shacking up in an abandoned schoolhouse and attempting to plan how they’re going to tackle the next wave of monster hunting. Attempting being the word, because plans don’t exist with Ayane. Far from a sweet old lady, she snaps at Nikaido when he attempts to calm her down with his powers. This leaves us with a rare moment alone with Emi and Nikaido, who reveals that he thinks emotions are always destructive.
Although it’s never been a secret Nikaido has a bag of burdens he lugs around, we get a hint of what they are and what may have lead to his powers as well. He rejects physical contact from a friend, and rejects Emi’s “need” to go back to her school life and parents. In other words, poor baby.
It seems Rori is just as surprised about the double Ayane connection as she continues to chat in Myoneko Temple (although it’s not as rare of a name as she makes it out to be). The connection between both Ayanes is still unclear. Is Ayane one of the many cat descendants from these spiritually powerful cats? Do all the cats have the ability to merge into humans and take down demons? And why isn’t the original Ayane aware of these happenings?
Although Rori is not much worse for wear, Shirai has suffered some loose red threading coming out of his guts, what Rori calls “unraveling.” She understandably freaks out as it reminds her of her mother, before trying to reconnect them and save him.
Here artists Cummings and Bonvillain do another great spread of the red threads as it splits up different panels that drop further hints on both Shirai and possibly both Ayane’s pasts. When she comes to, Rori is back in action and ready to take on the monsters that took out her mother and took over the city. The first step? Assemble the team!
I think Rori would be a little less enthusiastic if she found out her team involved allying with…dirt spiders. Though Ayane has never looked more happy than to hug an armful of…arms.
Another lull in the way of action, but well-paced issue from the Wayward series. After getting “a lot of bang for the buck” in this issue in terms of character development, team relationship, and clues that will pan out later on, I’m anticipating a lot of stepping up and fighting back in the second latter of the story arc. Plus, don’t miss the issue’s Cats of Japan highlights and legends at the end.
-More development on Emi and Nikaido.
-Looks like action will be picking up soon.
-Spiders. Why does it have to be spiders? (kidding)
-What does this actually mean for Ayane?
-Takes Rori a while, but she’s making a comeback.