Comic Review – Lumberjanes #12

  • Writers: Noelle Stevenson & Shannon WattersLumberjanes #12
  • Illustrator: Carolyn Nowak
  • Colourist: Maarta Laiho
  • Letters: Aubrey Aiese
  • Publisher: BOOM! Box (BOOM! Studios)
  • Release Date: March 18th 2014

I will readily admit I wasn’t 100% blown away by Lumberjanes #1 when it released almost one year ago. That said, 12 issues on, opening the pages of this comic is like re-uniting old friends who I only wish I could hang out with in real life.

This latest instalment wraps up the guest arc featuring illustrations by Carolyn Nowak–whose art in issue #9 I completely fangirled over–where Molly and Mal’s forest date goes terribly wrong, as they end up in a weird magical dimension with a cranky old bear-lady. Meanwhile, the other Lumberjanes remain at camp, trying to get so-called boring badges like “Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fondant” (for cake decorating)… or as in this issue, “Pick Up The Paste” (competitive scrapbooking).

The plot is pretty straightforward–Mal and Molly work together with the bear-lady to retrieve the magical specs that will get them home, and it involves a pretty epic dino-on-dino fight, with a lot of help from a T-Rex. It’s not completely clear, but the T-Rex seems to be the parent of the little Rex Mal befriended in #10. Or maybe it’s the little Rex grown up, because time passes a lot quicker in this magical dimension.

Back at camp, Ripey, April and Jo make one last attempt at getting a normal badge. “Pick Up The Paste” involves destroying opponents in a scrapbooking competition, so April declares it’s right up their alley.

Sidenote: I love how she is visually coded as the traditionally feminine character, with her fashionable hair and dress sense, and yet she subverts that idea by being both aggressive and competitive.

Lumberjanes #12

Sadly, April and gang lose the competition, but only because they decided to have fun and enjoy the process. The gang is understandable bummed out, and April is particularly exasperated when they find Mal and Molly, now back, being awarded “Oldie But Goodie” by the bear-lady (who also used to be the camp director, way back when).

So, nothing particularly explosive or mind-blowing, but don’t get me wrong–it’s utterly refreshing to read a comic that doesn’t feel the need to get crazier every month, but which is still-jampacked with story and characters/relationships. Well–that’s not strictly true, this comic does get crazy, but more in the “oh no we’re in a magical dimension being chased by dinosaurs” kind of way, which is totally different from Gotham city being destroyed again, seriously. Especially because here, the characters are allowed quiet moments to reflect and just be teenage girls, as in a particularly poignant moment where Mal and Molly talk about their lives outside their camp, and the struggles of adolescence and fitting in.

Art wise, Carolyn Nowak remains a great fill-in for series regular Brooke Allen, with Maarta Laiho’s colours providing a neat sense of continuity. Crazy chase sequences are handled with the same aplomb as the Lumberjanes hanging out in one of the camp’s cabins. The writing, too, seems to be getting better and better: less busy/more snappy, less silly/more thoughtful. Overall, Lumberjanes #12 continues the tradition of friendship, fun and summer camp magic, and that’s more than okay with me.

Lumberjanes #12


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About the author

Yamini C

Yamini is a twenty-something from hot & humid Singapore. An editor here at WOTN, she spends a lot of time obsessing over superhero comics and pretty much every kind of pop culture.