The creative team continues to do a lot of things well, but could invest a little more in making the fight scenes flow better. Wayward #13 marks a crossroads in the series. For the first time, we see the true power of the young generation of New Gods as they trounce, both metaphorically and quite literally, the magical things that have come before them. Further, we have seen the full extent to which Tsuchigomo (Spider Queen Lady) is willing to push the children and herself in her quest for domination.
One of the reasons the issue didn't sit right with me was the way in which the big fight was depicted. The problem wasn't the level of violence, but rather the fact that the action wasn't depicted as smoothly as possible. The comic constantly shows the results of actions rather than going all-in on any sort of fight choreography. Overall the scenes remain consistently well put together and visually appealing, especially the stunning finale of this fight.
The fighting itself though is clearly not to the strong suit of this creative team. Monsters get grabbed and then we don't see the result. The panels that do contain appealing and kinetic bits of action are few and far between and get crammed into the smaller bits of a page, overshadowed by the more stilted set-pieces that dominate the fight. While this fits Wayward's deserved status as more than just a macho punch-fest, it takes the wind out of the sails of the actual conflict that's occurring.
The conflict contained in these pages is about far more than the kids fighting some shape-shifting fox beasties. This is made abundantly clear by the way narration contextualizes the action early on--something Zub is very good at--as well as the end of the issue which ties the themes of this issue to the overall arc. We are very clearly about to see the web of old--that is, the ancient Spider Monster Queen Lady's webs--go up against the new World Wide Web from a kid who can control technology. It sticks to the theme being built of old vs. new as well as the visual theme of interconnectedness that extends from Rori through several other characters.
Still, specifically because the comic is being scripted in a manner that leaves no mystery as to its overarching themes, the fights can afford to take the time to be depicted as nitty-gritty. The young kitsune who has just joined the group is herself an embodiment of the young vs. old, "these kids don't respect their elders" theme, which clunkily gets integrated into the fight against her elders. At a certain point, Wayward lays it on too thick with its theme, and in the framing of the battle, it overwhelms the action.
Wayward #13 Writer: Jim Zub Artist: Steve Cummings Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain Publisher: Image Comics Price: Digital $2.99 Print $3.50 Release Date: 1/20/16 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital