Story by James Robinson
Art by Kei Zama
This issue was a beautifully rendered issue. Kei Zama's artwork is gorgeous throughout, as Wanda is pulled to Kyoto, Japan to investigate the murder of a Japanese sorcerer.
Wanda talks to a variety of people who knew him, including his ex-wife, a retired police officer, and one of the sorcerer's few remaining foes (called the Black Bullet, a minor sorcerer). As she does this, she is stalked by a fox that is the reincarnation of the dead sorcerer...as well as the evil entity that killed him when he was human. Eventually, we learn that the killer is a man named Benchley...the sorcerer's butler, who killed him in order to get his powers. He made a deal with a Japanese demon to accomplish this, but things didn't quite go the way he planned. And, of course, Wanda is here. The thing is that Benchley absorbed every person that Wanda talked to, turning his demonic body into a mass, so Wanda can't destroy him without destroying his innocent prisoners. But Wanda uses a spell to purify the water underneath the bridge upon which they stand, thus freeing the captives and enabling Wanda to get rid of the villain.
At the end, Wanda mentions she was called to Japan by some unexplained instinct, which interrupted her journey back to Serbia, her homeland, so this gives us an explanation why she wasn't already there. I liked that.
Robinson does so well with this book, doing stories that take place in a variety of cultures. We've had Greece, France, Spain, China, Ireland, and now Japan. Next issue will be Serbia. And each artist chosen for the book seem to really work it with their respective cultures. Kei Zama's art in this is lovely, making the Japanese landscape lush and snowy. I hope Marvel will use his art again, and use it soon!
The issue ends with the fox losing what remains of his human intelligence, as his murder has been solved, and then the fox runs off into the snowy forest to start its new life. Nice.