Panelology is a weekly podcast about comics. We talk about current books, what we're looking forward to, and how to get into reading comics in the first place.

Wayward: “String Theory” (Image Comics, 2014; #1-5)

It’s been a whole week since I wrote about a book starring kids. Which means it’s time to talk about Wayward.

It may be a function of where I get my comics news and reviews, but I don’t hear a lot of people talk about this book. I actually picked it up a while back, on a whim (read: I am a sucker for Image’s $9.99 volume ones), without any idea what it was about. Turns out, it’s about Rori Lane, a girl who moves to Japan to live with her mother and who can see strings connecting paths. Those paths might be the safest way out of danger, or connections between people, or even the route best from Point A to Point B.

When monsters and demons attack Rori, these strings lead her to other people with powers. Together, they start to fight back against these creatures and to unravel the mysteries around their return. All this takes place against the backdrop of Rori trying to find her place in her new home and building her relationship with her mother. This is a book about connection and the power that comes with it. It’s a fun, engaging read (that follows our pattern for successful books about younger characters) that borrows tropes from Japanese narratives*.

That extends to the art, in fact—a strong anime and manga influence permeates the book’s pages, giving it a visual style that is distinct from most western comics. This is especially true for its more supernatural elements and monster designs. And even though there are as many colorists in this collection as issues, transitions are smooth. Wayward’s palette is vibrant and playful, even in the darkest moments of its narrative.

I can see a variety of reasons to check this book out. Its anime/manga vibe might interest you. You might have faced a dawning realization that you enjoy the youthful optimism of books about kids. Maybe you're mood for a supernatural book. Any of those by itself is a pretty good reason to grab Wayward.

*I don’t have the deepest knowledge of anime or manga by any stretch of the imagination, but I definitely kept thinking about the Persona video game franchise while reading this—Wayward just has less of a goth/BDSM-chic vibe.

Collected in

  • Wayward, Vol. 1: String Theory (#1-5)
  • Wayward Book One (#1-10)


Writer: Jim Zub | Artist: Steve Cummings | Colorists: Tamra Bonvillan, Ross A. Campbell, Josh Perez, John Rauch, Jim Zub | Flatter: Ludwing Olimba | Letterer: Marshall Dillon | Back Matter: Zack Davisson

Villains United (DC Comics, 2005; #1-6)

FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics: “The Paradigm Shift” (Vertigo, 2013; #1-7)