REVIEW: ‘Lumberjanes,’ Volume 18

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Lumberjanes Volume 18 - But Why Tho?

Lumberjanes Volume 18 collects issues 69-72 of the Eisner Award-winning series about the campers of Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. This volume is written Shannon Watters & Kat Leyh with illustrations by Kanesha C. Bryant & Julia Madrigal, colors by Maarta Laiho, and letters by Aubrey Aiese. The series is published by BOOM! Studios imprint BOOM! Box.

In Lumberjanes Volume 18 the summer is starting to come to an end. But first, Mal, Ripley, Molly, April, and Jo must serve a punishment for carving their names into a tree. Camp director Rosie takes the girls out into the woods to do some forest maintenance and clear some dead trees. But instead, they find an invasive species menacing the forest. Fortunately, Abbigail is there to help when the going gets tough. Meanwhile, Molly is in possession of an old Lumberjane’s journal, through which a secondary story is told.

This volume is somewhat uneven. The first half has great lessons on environmentalism and ecology, but the story and art are not as strong as the series typically is. The plot is a bit slow going and there isn’t the signature character growth during most of this volume. There is some for Rosie and Abby, but none of the campers. I appreciate the end for those two, but it wasn’t as endearing a journey as usual.

The art style in Lumberjanes changed a lot over the course of the series. The faces go from quite sharp to completely round and back again. Here, they lack a lot of the signature personalities and honestly, they’re just on the other side of feeling lifeless and ocassionaly, a bit disconcerting. Partiuclarly in the case of April. Typically, she is portrayed as a bit bossy and a bit overbaring, but its never made out as a negative trait. Here, the occasional grizzly portrayal in an attempt to emphasize those traits ends up just feeling like it’s commentary on the traits themselves, even if inadvertant.

By the back half of the volume though, it starts to even out. Even the lettering seemed to be less abrasive by the end. It started off feeling rather small and hard to read compared to usual, but it did seem to bother me less by the end, even if the font size never actually changed. There’s still one more specifically uncomfortable illustration, but in general the art feels less meh in the back half. The story also gets more interesting as the story of the old Lumberjanes takes a bit more precident in plot. It ends on as a high a note as usual, it was just a bit less thrilling of a journey to get there than usual. I will ay though, this volume contains some of the most explicit environmental and ecological education i nthe series and for a series all about summer camp, it surprised me how much I suddenly noticed it lacking in retorspect. It was a welcome aspect of the early issues in the volume. Plus it led to a cute moment for Molly and Mal. Possibly the only good character moment all along.

Lumberjanes Volume 18 isn’t the strongest volume in the series, but it’s good nonetheless. The end of the volume is a high note and for all you loayl Lumberjanes out there, there’s no reason to skip it.

Lumberjanes Volume 18 is available wherever comics are sold.

Lumberjanes Volume 18
3.5

TL;DR

Lumberjanes Volume 18 isn’t the strongest volume in the series, but it’s good nonetheless. The end of the volume is a high note and for all you loayl Lumberjanes out there, there’s no reason to skip it.