3 years and 25 issues later, Lumberjanes roars into their next arc with a super-sized issue of supernatural camp craziness, featuring magic kittens, birdman sirens, and the visitation of Lumberjane royalty. Is it good?
Lumberjanes #25 (BOOM! Studios)
In honor of the Lumberjane’s 3rd anniversary, we get 2 1/2 stories in one massive book.
Story 1 is the beginning of a new arc for our campers. Apparently sometime between issues 24 and 25, Ripley briefly became a god and because she’s Ripley, created a ton of magical kittens. They started out normal, and Barney was keeping them corralled at the boys’ camp, right up until their magical natures manifested and they ran to the girls’ camp. Normally this wouldn’t faze the Lumberjanes, but a much delayed mail delivery has brought the notice that the women of the Grand Lodge (the eldest, most decorated, and highest-ranking Lumberjanes) are coming to inspect their camp. This sends Jen into a frenzy, begging the girls to help her pass inspection. Just when they get the kittens under control, a new and greater disaster strikes. And the new arc begins!
Story 2 is an excerpt from April’s journal/beastiary, detailing the Lumberjanes’ encounter with another supernatural being, this one harking back to the very first arc of Lumberjanes. April accidentally ensnares a male siren, and the girls have to figure out how to get him home.
The issue ends with a teaser for the upcoming Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy crossover.
Is It Good?
Now this is how you celebrate an anniversary – telling a story straight from the meat of what makes your book great, which in Lumberjanes‘ case is supernatural creatures, shenanigans, glitter, and a plot twist that makes you gasp. The team decided to go for pure silliness and fun with the first story and it was worth every delightful second. MAGICAL KITTENS. You don’t get more Lumberjanes than that. The art team went full out; Carey Pietsch’s round, cartoony versions of the characters fit perfectly with the roly-poly mischief-making kittens, and Maarta Laiho dug into the boldest part of her palette to color the action.
And the nice part was, we still got character development within the chaotic fun. During mail call, we see Molly getting and reading a letter, and she not only looks nervous being handed the letter, but even worse reading it. Of course we don’t learn about the contents yet, but it’s a nice Chekov’s gun for further in the arc. We also see Molly’s relationship with Mal deepen, as Mal throws herself in front of a cat’s laser eye beams to save Molly’s life (luckily, they are of the laser pointer variety, which results in one of the best gags in the book).
Story 2 brings in YA comics superstar guest writer Chynna Clugston Flores, and guest artists Laura Lewis and Mad Rupert for a perfect one-shot creature feature. The story is perfectly Lumberjanes, and Clugston has April’s voice down to a tee. I hope this isn’t the last we’ll see of the birdboy siren. Lewis and Rupert use an almost chibi style for the Janes, adding an extra layer of cute to a sweet tale, though with enough moments of hilarity and grossness to keep it from crossing into sacchrine territory. I especially like their awkward, oddball Siren, and I love that they chose to go with the ancient Greek version of Sirens, which I had no idea about. Laiho does double-duty, but adjusting her colors to a more simple style that perfectly matches the different artists.
The preview of the highly anticipated Gotham Academy crossover looks solid, though since I don’t read Gotham Academy, I was a bit lost. However, it did hook me enough that I might pick up some of the last arc to read the crossover.
I’m so happy to get back to Lumberjanes and the beginning of this arc feels much closer to the origina stories I loved so much. I definitely can’t wait to see where this story is going to go.