Holy Bell Hooks! The girls in the Roanoke cabin have been causing mayhem and chasing adventure for a little over a year now, and the second volume chronicling their summer at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types is jam-packed with mystery, punching, and friendship to the max.
In this second volume, the girls are still attempting to puzzle out why three-eyed animals keep attacking the camp, who the strange bear-woman roaming the woods is, and whether the gang will ever carry out any of Mal’s carefully calculated plans.
Despite the amount of plot packed into each issue, the five campers, their counselor Jen, and energetic/enigmatic scout-master Rosie all have distinct characteristics and personalities, as well as fairly well-delineated character development throughout the volume.
Creators Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen have done a fantastic job of creating a story that can be enjoyed by readers of any age, and while it simply overflows with girl-power positivity, it’s clear that its audience is made up of more than just lady comic fans. Lumberjanes has a nostalgic resemblance to films like The Goonies or Monster Squad– a group of kids, each with their own strengths and flaws, work together to solve mysteries and overcome supernatural obstacles. Lumberjanes has the same timeless, classic kid adventure feel. Illustrations by Ellis complete the feeling with gorgeous landscapes, dynamic action sequences, and a way of portraying facial expressions and body language that is expressive without being too over-exaggerated.
Writers Stevenson and Allen have a good feel for pacing- each issue, represented as a chapter from the Lumberjanes Field Manual, is for the most part a self-contained arc with connections to the further reaching plots and mysteries. This leaves the reader feeling satisfied but still ready for more. However, although it is understandable that not all mysteries can be revealed simultaneously or without appropriate build-up, there are plot threads tied up a bit too loosely. And yet, there is room to return to these in future issues of course, and in ways that build on the larger mysteries quite appetizingly.
Lumberjanes is definitely a worthwhile read, and something that can be happily shared with any comic fan.