If you have never read an issue of Lumberjanes, stop right now. Turn around. And start from the beginning. My journey with this series began only 24 hours ago, but by the time I finished Lumberjanes: End of Summer #1, I was inconsolable. This 70-page grand finale to the 75-issue BOOM! Box series is written by Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh with layouts by Brooklyn Allen, illustrations by Alexa Bosy and Kanesha C. Bryant, colors by Maarta Laiho, and letters by Aubrey Aiese. The series is originally created by Watters, Allen, Grace Ellis, and Noelle Stevenson.
As Lumberjanes: End of Summer #1 is the grand finale to a beloved, award-winning series and picks up in the middle of the series’ final arc, I will not spoil the plot one ounce. Rather, I hope to convince you to start back at issue #1. This finale is a perfect culmination of all of Mal, Ripley, Molly, April, Jo, and the rest of Lumberjanes of Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types.
Over the course of 75 issues (and several graphic novels), the characters learn, grow, fall in love, get hurt, apologize, and support each other with undying and infectious affection. While my time with the Lumberjanes was tragically short, their impact, like any good summer spent at camp, will last with me for a long time. Oh, and the entire summer is spent in a magical forest where time moves strangely slow, and creatures of all sorts of mythology comingle like it’s no big deal. The girls of Roanoak Cabin fall into constant peril but always manage to solve their troubles through the least corny power-of-friendship there could be.
The peril of Lumberjanes: End of Summer #1 is the greatest yet, and it is matched by the best writing and art of the whole series. As the summer draws to an end, nearly every call back you could hope from the series 5-6 year history is called up and the huge pit in your stomach that comes when a transformative experience is coming to an end is with you the whole time.
I had to fight to admire the gorgeous coloring from behind all my tears; from sparkles to gorgeous vistas to ominous darkness, the entire rainbow is used from front to back. The lack of consistent hue or perfectly encapsulates the book’s ultimate message: While everybody may come from different homes or have different personalities or interests, they all have a place among the Lumberjanes.
While the entire series does a constant job of making the reader truly feel like they are experiencing the magic of camp as a teenager, Lumberjanes: End of Summer #1 perfects it. The character designs and art style often changes over the course of the series, but the final special returns to something most similar to the original 8-issues’ style. Only, every facial expression is as sharp as ever, every word on the page looks like a 15-year-old camper penned it in their journal, and every ounce of end-of-summer emotion simply exuding from the five main best friends.
As a single issue, Lumberjanes: End of Summer #1 is stellar. It delivers a wonderful story of the Lumberjanes saving their camp and forest from a mysterious evil. It’s the most gorgeous and emotional the series has ever been, absolutely hilarious at all the right moments, and while not every question I’ve asked myself since the beginning was answered, that feels okay.
As a finale to the whole series, this comic’s last page puts it better than I could. It’s a letter from camp director Rosie to every Lumberjane going home for the summer, including us. Read the series from the beginning and read the letter for yourself. I think you’ll understand, whether you’ve ever been to camp yourself or not, why it’s okay that questions are left unanswered. It’s okay that these characters and camp that I fell so in love with over just 24 hours are leaving for the summer, their own questions still unanswered, and perhaps, even, never to be all together in that place again.
Lumberjanes: End of Summer #1 is a bittersweet ending to a spectacular series. I will be buying the omnibus when it comes out one day for every kid in my life. I would give it a 10 out of 5 if I could. But don’t spoil yourself on it. Go back to the beginning and enjoy friendship to the max with Mal, Ripley, Molly, April, and Jo.
Lumberjanes: End of Summer #1 is available wherever comics are sold.
Lumberjanes: End of Summer #1
Lumberjanes: End of Summer #1 is a bittersweet ending to a spectacular series. It delivers a wonderful story of Lumberjanes saving their camp and forest from a mysterious evil. It’s the most gorgeous and emotional the series has ever been and while not every question I’ve asked myself since the beginning was answered, that feels okay. But don’t spoil yourself on it. Go back to the beginning and enjoy friendship to the max with Mal, Ripley, Molly, April, and Jo.