Molly and Mal continue their adventure in another world with the mysterious bear woman, while the rest of the Janes try to gain more mundane badges. Is it good?
Lumberjanes #11 (BOOM! Studios)
The issue opens with Molly and Mal being berated by the old bear lady about how their crashing through the portal caused the exit to shift. And just to add to their complications, this other world operates on a different time scale than the normal world.
This understandingly causes Mal to freak out a bit, admitting she isn’t as brave at camp as she is at home. Molly reassures her, admitting home is where she has the harder time, bonding them over their shared fears. In short, they are adorable.
Back in the real world, Ripley, Jo, and April try their hands at various tasks to win some merit badges, without much success.
We switch back to Molly, Mal, and bear lady, who reveals that a velociraptor snuck to their world and stole her special reading glasses, without which they will never find the portal back to the real world. Various shenanigans later, including giant, man-eating plants and geysers, they are no closer to the glasses and Molly and Mal decide it’s their turn at a plan.
Is It Good?
While this storyline has been fun, it’s not quite as captivating or cohesive as the first main arc of Lumberjanes. Dividing the team has resulted in some good character and relationship moments for Molly and Mal, but the mundane badge story feels far less important for the other girls. I’m hoping it will all tie together in the end, but right now the stories feel so disparate, it’s hard to see how.
I’m also missing Jen. We get a short moment with her, but she says she needs a break from the otherworldly insanity the Janes get up to, so this may be our only glimpse of her for a while.
Though the mundane badges storyline is less fraught than Bear Lady world, it does give us some great character moments for the other girls. Ripley’s enthusiastic approach to the badge challenges gives her some really fun wins:
While April’s over-the-top perfectionistic mindset and Jo’s mechanical problem-solving end up distracting from the tasks at hand. Though this storyline feels lighter, it does have the trademark silliness and great humor that are a Lumberjanes trademark. And PUNS. Oh the puns. They make me so happy.
I’m also not responding as much to Carolyn Nowak’s art as I did to Brooke Allen’s, who was the main artist over the first arc. I’m having a hard time putting my finger on what precisely isn’t as appealing, because their styles are very similar and Nowak is obviously keeping certain stylistic choices with the movement, high energy, and large, over-the-top facial expressions. I’m grateful for that, since it really does define the tone of the series.
I think her drawing style is more sketchy, less solid than Ellis’s, which somehow makes it feel more muted, though Maarta Laiho is still coloring the book.
So all in all, though I’m still definitely enjoying the series, that spectacular first arc is a tough act to follow. Hopefully once the storylines start coming together, the pace will pick up that sparkiness that first captured me.