Lumberjanes #16

A new issue of "Lumberjanes" is generally a reason to celebrate, and that's definitely true with "Lumberjanes" #16. Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters and Brooke Allen's new chapter serves up some answers even as the stakes get higher, all while never losing sight of the fact that the book needs to be entertaining.

Stevenson and Watters give us a surprising amount of information that -- up until now -- was just tantalizingly out of reach; we learn not only what soured the relationship between Abigail and Rosie back when they were both Lumberjanes, but also how the Bear Woman fits into the big picture and why she's been so bossy. All the while, though, Stevenson and Watters make sure there's more than just an information dump; it's given to us as a flashback sequence that has action and excitement, showing rather than telling.

At the same time, though, they don't lose track of the fact that there needs to be forward motion on the modern-day storyline. The duo ties the two stories together perfectly and uses the flashback to add a level of danger to the present day. While Rosie, Abigail and Nellie the Bear Woman all have important parts to play in this issue, our main characters aren't lost in the shuffle either. From Jen struggling with the car to the team's "defensive position," this comic keeps them in the center of the story and even provides a few good laughs.

Allen's art is excellent as always; who knew that a pack of antlered wolves with glowing eyes could be even creepier than that phrase hints? Even Aubrey Aiese's letters get into the action, giving the wolves' words an extra bite with ragged shapes and sizes. Allen and Maarta Laiho do a nice job with the flashback, providing a sepia-toned world that feels simpler at first but proves to be just as deadly as the present day. It then also makes the jump back to now that much more refreshing, not only because it's bursting with color but because Allen's present-day girls are so energetic as they leap and grin their ways across the page.

"Lumberjanes" #16 is fun as ever, and it's a shame to see co-writer and co-creator Noelle Stevenson depart at the end of this storyline next month. Hopefully, the book will maintain its momentum with Watters, Allen and the rest, because I've come to love "Lumberjanes" too much to see it take a misstep. This is, yet again, a real joy to read.

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