In this issue of Lumberjanes, things go from bad to worse with the rocker mermaids and it might be all April’s fault. Is it good?
Lumberjanes #19 (BOOM! Studios)
April has decided to try and help heal the rift between rocker mermaid Harlow and the rest of her band by going to the underwater music festival and playing the band’s demo for the crowd, convincing the band to get back together. Jo has built a precarious-looking dive suit, and the other girls have their own concerns: Riley and Bubbles are going to the Bandicoot Bacchanal and need to finish Riley’s dress. Jen gives April 30 minutes to dive and accomplish her goal, and April is off.
Below water, things seem to be going well at first. April runs into Taylor, saying she’s a volunteer and gets the task of getting a box of sound effect samples over to the control booth. But when her water hose is caught on a festival goer, and the box of tapes goes flying — April guesses at random, but ends up blaring a sea serpent battle cry instead of the band’s demo. And that’s when all heck breaks loose. For the love of Amphitrite!
Is It Good?
I wasn’t super sold on this arc when it began in the last issue, but it’s really grabbed me this time around and I think the difference is that we get some solid character development. April’s relentless optimism, desire to help others, and refusal to give up has been an asset in previous arcs, but now we see the flip side of those qualities.
April’s determination to fix the mermaids’ problems goes above the concerns or needs of any of the other girls, and her enthusiasm and refusal to give up backfires massively when she puts in the wrong tape. Jo’s assessment of April is a bit on the nose, story-wise, but it’s something that will speak strongly to younger readers. It’s a hard lesson to realize that you can be selfish even when you think you are being helpful.
I also liked the little insights into the other characters. Mal really stood out for me; I loved her fear of water (the first instance we’re seeing of it, I believe), but she still supports her friend by going out there. She’s also the only character who reacts to how bizarre this entire storyline is, and I really appreciate Waters and Leyh acknowledging this, even in a winky way.
Jen’s character is also taking a turn; instead of freaking out at the idea of letting April go under water in a duct tape scuba suit, she gives her a chance to see the consequences of her actions. I love the idea of Jen slowly becoming Rosie, the fate of possibly all the Lumberjanes as we’ve seen.
Carolyn Nowak always embraces the silliness and action of the various Lumberjanes storylines and she embraces that in this issue. But my one complaint, much like in last issue, is that she didn’t push the mermaids as far as she could have. There are a few more fishy folks in some of the group scenes, but overall, they have fairly standard people heads and bodies. It would have been fun with different fishy accents or styles.
We are nearing the giant battle we saw in the first issue, so I’m looking forward to how we are going to get there.