In Chynna Clugston Flores and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell’s “Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy” #1, a sinister mystery draws BOOM! Studios’ “Lumberjanes” and the students from DC Comics’ “Gotham Academy” together to investigate. As both titles feature a diverse cast of young characters, some light detective work and a super cute art style, it feels as though it was only a matter of time before they crossed over, and Flores and Valero-O’Connell manage to tackle all of the characters with ease. However, new fans might not be able to enjoy it fully without previous knowledge of either franchise.
Flores starts this adventure story off right with a missing person’s case. Each camp is on the lookout for a missing member of their party — and what better place to start than the woods? Although there is a ton of information to lay out in order to get new readers acquainted with everyone, Flores keeps the story from getting overly expository. She neatly nails each character’s personality, though the issue becomes too wordy at times, especially for younger readers. Letterer Warren Montgomery does a fantastic job helping with that particular issue and even manages to smooth out the pacing. With both Montgomery and Flores working in tandem, they succeed in weaving the two separate stories together.
Valero-O’Connell brings her soft lines and simple designs to the book, and her approach is a perfect match that marries the styles of both series. Her art has a pleasant flow and an effortless line of sight that keeps the book easy to read, while also capturing the spirit of Gotham’s resident detective club and the members of Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. It’s her careful attention to little details — like Riley’s hyper expressions of excitement and April’s open, honest face — that will keep readers invested in the story. Although Whitney Cogar’s amazing verdant forest colors make the book feel like a pure “Lumberjanes” story this issue, there are a number of times when she manages to bring the dark vibe of Gotham Academy to the forefront as well.
While the crossover is a fun idea in theory, it remains to be seen if these two properties can unite to become a successful miniseries. Nailing the tone of both stories will be a bit of a challenge, but — if the first issue is any indication — this creative team won’t have much of a problem. With five more issues yet to come, there’s lots of potential for “Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy” to become a heartwarming all-ages tale of friendship.