Rori faces her first day of school in Wayward #2 and her indeterminate powers are encouraging her to track down a boy she sees in the lunch room.
Wayward #2 picks up almost exactly where the first issue left off. Rori sneaks back into her mother’s apartment after a night of adventuring with Kappas (a really fun take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Ayane. Her mother is surprisingly accepting of her daughter’s irresponsible behaviour on her first night in a foreign city.
As a person who was once a teenage girl I have to give writer Jim Zub a lot of credit for nailing Rori’s voice – both during her internal monologue and when she speaks aloud – and characterization from her surprise at her mother’s easy-going nature to the stark isolation she feels during her first day of school.
The majority of Wayward #2 is spent at Rori’s new school. She makes her introductions to the teacher and her classmates, noting that even with her working knowledge of Japanese and its kanji. When lunchtime rolls around Rori notices the red lines that seem to lead her throughout the city of Tokyo (often toward and then away from mortal danger), only this time they are focused around a handsome loner-boy. For how crowded Tokyo and her school is, this boy is the only person equally as isolated as Rori, which makes him as compelling as he is frightening.
Wayward #2 continues through the end of the school day and Rori makes an impulsive decision to follow the mysterious lunch room boy and the red trails. He leads Rori to a Buddhist shine where she witnesses what appears to be an atrocious act that leads to a huge anime-style fight in a back street.
By the end of Wayward #2 Zub has Rori learn an important lesson about isolation and feeling alone at the same time she is discovering more and more things about her mysterious skill set. Rori is a fantastic protagonist with emotional reactions that, despite being cloaked in urban fantasy, rings as very true to life. Wayward #2 is completely and utterly enjoyable.
WHIMSICAL ANIME-INSPIRED ART
Wayward #2 is set in Japan. The anime notes that crop up in Steve Cummings’s linework fits seamlessly into the story being told in the same way that the colouring by John Rauch and Jim Zub (notably Rori’s bright red hair), utterly fits into place.
Rori has suitably larger eyes than her Japanese contemporaries (again, a nod to the anime aesthetic as much as the likelihood of Rori’s biology), which, when taken in addition to her bright, punk hair, cement her amongst the throngs of beautiful fighting girls present in Japanese media. At this stage in Wayward #2 Rori looks like Rei Ayanami, whilst behaving more like Salior Mercury.
Toyko itself is a stunning character in the issue, well executed as a real city that any of the readers could go off and visit, but with that special undercurrent of magic slicing through when Rori’s second site kicks in. Her suggested paths are always marked out in red by Rauch and Zub and manage to never feel forced despite the fact that we know these lines will inevitably become Rori’s escape plan.
Wayward #2 is a visually stunning as the narrative is engaging. Cummings, Ruach and Zub are all on their A-game and work together effortlessly. This is a beautiful issue.
THE BOTTOM LINE: AWESOME ISSUE
Wayward #2 gives readers more world building, a new character, more reach to Rori’s power and a deeper characterization of our heroine. It is no less compelling than the first issue, utterly beautiful and only $2.99. This issue is great for readers who like a female protagonist and urban fantasy, but ought to be read by everyone.