In this flashback issue, we see how all the Lumberjanes of Roanoke cabin had their first camp adventure. Is it good?
Lumberjanes #13 (BOOM! Studios)
We open on an empty camp, as the director raises the Lumberjanes flag to welcome the start of a new camp summer. One by one, we see each of our girls arriving with their families and each of them have a very unique story.
Jo is chauffeured by her obviously wealthy and incredibly smart dads, choosing a summer at Lumberjanes with her buddy April over a college robotics program. Next up Riley arrives with her large and energetic family, and exits the car with a combo of teasing and support (and also a large wad of gum in her hair). April, independent and strong, waves off her older father as she carries her mountain of luggage to her cabin. Mal arrives via cab, boasting to the driver of having tricked someone, presumably her mom, into sending her to the camp for the summer. Mal runs into Molly, already dropped off but who is the only one who’s family we don’t see.
The girls all gather in Roanoke cabin, greeted by the sight of April dying Ripley’s iconic blue streak and having given her a cool haircut to help solve her gum-created hair faux pas. New and highly anxious counselor Jen gathers the girls outside to go over the rules, which are immediately broken as a mysterious animal makes off with Ripley’s toy unicorn.
A wild chase ensues, revealing the culprit to be Bandit, the wily raccoon buddy who doubles every now and then as a living coon skin cap. In the scuffle to get Ripley’s unicorn back, Bandit flies into Molly, knocking her over a cliff and landing her into bushes in front of a very odd rock formation next to a waterfall. As Molly heads back to camp with Bandit in hat mode, a pair of eyes opens in the waterfall, revealing that the odd mysteries of Camp Lumberjane go all the way back to the beginning.
Is It Good?
This is issue is adorable. I love a good flashback and this one gives us just enough information to add depth to the characters, but with plenty of room to explore more.
There are lots of things to like here: one of my favorite was the diversity of the various characters’ backgrounds. We’ve got Jo with gay parents, Ripley’s large Latino family, Jo’s older dad, Mal’s female care-giver. We get a wide spectrum of family types, and it’s not remarked upon or called out for special attention. This is just who these folks are.
One thing I found interesting was that all the relationships are the same in the current day as they were in the beginning. April and Jo are besties, Mal and Molly had instant attraction, Ripley is taken under everyone’s wing. There won’t be any enemies who become friends stories here, or a distance to overcome in some other way. It’s definitely different from most introduction stories, especially with groups of girls. And maybe that is intentional, a push back against traditionally gendered stories. These girls have no need to compete or hate each other off the bat – they want to be friends and have a good time.
So here’s to friendship and fun and a very interesting summer indeed.