REVIEW: ‘Lumberjanes,’ Volume 16

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Lumberjanes Volume 16 - But Why Tho?The Lumberjanes of Roanoke cabin are back at it again in the Land of Lost Things in Lumberjanes Volume 16. This volume of Lumberjanes includes issues 61-64 of the Eisner Award-winning series created by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson & Brooklyn Allen and published by BOOM! Box. This volume is written by Shannon Watters & Kat Leyh, illustrated by AnneMarie Rogers, colored by Maarta Laiho, and lettered by Aubrey Aiese.

Lumberjanes Volume 16 begins with Molly, Mal, Jo, Ripley, and April running for their lives. While they’re pretty used to being chased by magical creatures by now, Mal is terrified. This time though, she wants to do something about it. She enlists Ripley, who is not only afraid of nothing but enthusiastically faces down danger on the daily. Unfortunately, this anti-scardey cat training goes awry, and Mal finds herself lost, once again, in the Land of Lost Things. As such, the rest of the cabin sets off on a mission to rescue Mal.

I adore virtually every issue of Lumberjanes, and Lumberjanes Volume 16 is no exception. The plot in this four-story arc hits most of the points that make the series so interesting. There’s weird time-displacement, beloved dinosaurs, and excellent character moments for Mal and Ripley in particular. What more can you ask for?

My favorite bit in the whole story is when Mal is on her own in the Land of Lost Things, writing a deep and poetic entry in her journal as she laments her lost days and yearns for the love of her friends, and Molly in particular. It’s dramatic and over the top in a way that you would totally expect from Mal as the group’s punk, but that you don’t see from her often. This makes it all the sweeter. And then you realize she has only been there for maybe four days or so. Going from this melodrama, seeming like she’s been lost for months to reveal its only been a few days, is great subtle comedy within a comic book filled with overt hilarious moments.

Ripley is perhaps the youngest Roanoke, and every time she gets a chance to show love for her older friends or role models is always wonderful. Her exuberance at Mal’s asking her for help is palpable and carries Ripley’s vibrating energy strongly throughout the rest of Lumberjanes Volume 16. While the very end of the issue feels like it opens a can of worms, this wintry trip to the Land of Lost Things is very satisfying.

One hangup I did have was over how the rest of the crew, especially Molly, repeatedly ignore or push off Mal’s discomfort and desire to go home. She was lost for several days after all. But, she ultimately gets the opportunity to prove to herself and her friends that she’s as brave and fearless as the rest of them, even if she has a hard time recognizing it. And that’s just the best.

Lumberjanes goes through several different art styles over the course of the series, but AnneMarie Rogers’ drawings are just as swell as any other style. The faces are a bit long in this rendition compared to the more angular faces of earlier volumes, but unless you’re reading them all back to back, you’ll be only entirely satisfied with the expressive characters and detailed backgrounds.

This volume tends to rely more on the art than the words, and several nearly full pages sans words are as fun and pleasing to watch as the next. The way these pages use each panel to show movement and urgency while remaining whimsical is particularly impressive. Drawing Ripley in shorts despite the winter gear she wears is also a perfect touch. She absolutely would be the kind of pre-teen who wears shorts no matter the weather, and it’s a nice, subtle visual bit that sneaks its way in during a funny piece of dialogue.

The colors as well are evocative of both the magical forest of camp and the winter wonderland of the Land of Lost Things where this volume takes place, using a variety of shades of green and blue respectively.

The letters in Lumberjanes Volume 16 are crystal clear to read while still appearing in the style of a camper writing in their journal. They’re sloppy enough to evoke 15-year-old handwriting while still being perfectly legible and well-spaced.

Each trade paperback volume of Lumberjanes also includes a short typed note at the beginning, and this volume is a message from the Lumberjanes High Council on staying hopeful in the face of great danger or uncertainty. A very fitting message for these times. Alongside the Lumberjanes pledge and other little bits that make the volume feel like a true Lumberjanes handbook/scrapbook, it’s a very nice touch. There is also a nice outro about fear before a gallery of all variant covers from the volume’s four issues.

Lumberjanes Volume 16 is an excellent volume in a stellar series, mixing up the locales while delivering on all of the things that make the series great: weird magical antics and excellent character moments.

Lumberjanes Volume 16 is available wherever comics are sold.


Lumberjanes Volume 16
5

TL;DR

Lumberjanes Volume 16 is an excellent volume in a stellar series, mixing up the locales while delivering on all of the things that make the series great: weird magical antics and excellent character moments.