Thursday, 17 September 2015

Wayward Vol 2: Ties That Bind by Jim Zub and Steven Cummings

Wayward Volume 2: Ties That Bind written by Jim Zub and illustrated by Steven Cummings is the second collected volume of the ongoing comic book series. I have previously reviewed Volume 1, which ended on quite a dramatic note.

After the traumatizing finale of volume one, everything has changed for our supernatural teens. Who is Ohara and how does she fit into the great pattern of destiny and power that will change Japan forever? Jim Zub (Conan/Red Sonja, Samurai Jack) and Steve Cummings (Deadshot, Legends of the Dark Knight) continue their supernatural spectacle that combines the camaraderie and emotion of shows like Buffy with Japan's engaging culture and mythic monsters. This volume includes design artwork by artist Steve Cummings and profiles on mythical creatures by noted monster researcher Zack Davisson.

I enjoyed Volume 2 much more than Volume 1 — and Volume 1 was far from a drag. What I think makes Volume 2 so much more compelling is the way in which in brings a lot of separate story threads together into a cohesive whole. Vol 1 ended on a cliffhanger, which I thought was a little overwrought. Vol 2 doesn't resolve it straight away, instead introducing us to a new character, Ohara, who I liked just as much as Lori. Although this arc starts off focussing on Ohara, the other characters we loved in the first volume quickly make a reappearance (and so many cats, even more cats than before).

Although I don't disagree with the general pitch of "Buffy but in Japan", Ties That Bind takes Wayward in a more unique direction.  The ensemble cast is very different, with a different set of skills and personalities and more cats, and the background mythology, of course, is much more Japanese. In Ties That Bind a lot of the worldbuilding backstory comes together in a way that there wasn't room for in Volume 1. I highly recommend reading the two volumes as a single unit. At the very least, if you were on the fence about volume 1, I suggest giving volume 2 a chance.

I enjoyed Wayward Vol 2: Ties That Bind a lot and not just because there were many cats. I am definitely looking forward to the next instalment. This is a great comic series and I highly recommend it to comic and fantasy fans. And fans of Buffy.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: August 2015, Image Comics
Series: Wayward Volume 2 containing issues #6–10 of the ongoing series
Format read: Trade paperback
Source: Purchased from a real book shop!

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