Review: 'Wayward' #30 Is a Powerful End to a Complex, Magical Tale

wayward ayane
(Photo: Image Comics)

Endings are challenging things when it comes to comic books. Not only does the finale have to bring things to a close in a way that makes sense for the story, but it also has to satisfy the readers who have gone on that story's journey for however long the book has run. It's a delicate balance, and one that Jim Zub strikes perfectly with Wayward #30.

The series is often described as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer in Japan," and there are certainly shades of that in the issue; the last image of Rori Lane may very well remind some readers of the last look at Buffy in the show's finale. However, there is something more deeply satisfying in the way the battle for control of the future plays out. To be clear, Wayward #30 is no happy ending. There is loss and a lingering sense of "what comes next" that clings to the pages long after you close the book. That said, there is an optimism, a hope, and even an inspiration in the issue's final line that transcends the story.

Also transcendent in the issue is Steven Cummings art and Tamra Bonvillain's colors. All of the work through the entirety of Wayward has been beautiful and beautifully executed, but both Cummings and Bonvillain take things beyond the next level in complex action scenes that jump off the page while the final panels of Rori go even deeper, leaping into your very soul. The colors themselves are a brilliant cacophony that somehow comes together into a perfectly pitched orchestra for the eyes; yes, the colors are practically musical in Wayward #30. Put them together with the other elements -- the writing, the art, the letters -- and you've got a nearly perfect farewell.

wayward rori
(Photo: Image Comics)

Nearly perfect, but not completely. While Wayward #30 is perfectly balanced in how it wraps things up and is truly a beautiful issue on top of that, there are moments where the conclusion feels a little rushed. It can sometimes feel like the finale may have been better served by a few more pages just to flesh out a bit more of the story. In particular, considering Emi's evolution over the course of the series, it would have been nice to see just a little bit more of her or more of Ayane since her return to the group has been brief. It also might have been nice to see more, even just a glimpse, of what the future holds for each of the characters with the story complete. After all, over the course of the previous 29 issues readers have become invested in the characters – heroes and otherwise. Having a greater sense of their future might have been nice. Of course, with the way the story ends, it’s also oddly fitting that some mysteries are never revealed. The future is not ours to know. Perhaps this is just a nitpick.

Overall, Wayward #30 is an elegant, beautiful finale that will give fans a lot to love -- both in the first reading and in what is sure to be many re-readings to come. That’s the beauty of Wayward. It’s a story you will want to come back to, even knowing how it all ends.

Published by Image Comics

On October 31, 2018

Written by Jim Zub

Art by Steven Cummings

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Colors by Tamra Bonvillain

Letters by Marshall Dillon