Up until now, “Lumberjanes” has been a fun, exciting comic with strange mysteries popping up left and right with no questions answered. Now, the questions are being answered courtesy Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Brooke Allen. And most importantly, they haven’t lost sight of the book needing to be fun and exciting.
All of the hallmarks of the series are still there; the Lumberjanes scouts are exuberant, getting into all sorts of adventures, and using their wits as well as their skills to go up against all sorts of crazy odds. But here, Stevenson and Ellis are explaining a lot of the strange creatures and puzzles that existed in the woods and setting them into a larger framework. A story like this can live and die on its revelations, and thankfully this takes a fun idea and makes it work. It’s the sort of revelation that readers old and young can appreciate, even as it follows a certain logical pattern.
It’s also important that the book doesn’t ever get bogged down in its exposition. The girls trying to steal the crystal out of Rosie’s cabin is tense and clever, and watching their supervisor Juanita save the day is a perfect culmination to everything that’s happened over the previous six issues. And when Jo has a chance to save the rest of the Lumberjanes but is smart enough to figure out that Diane’s holding back on what the consequences are, it’s an emotional decision that will genuinely tug at your heartstrings.
Allen’s art is part of what makes “Lumberjanes” so much fun. I love how she draws the girls; panicking or grinning, their faces just light up with so much emotion. Rosie this issue looks especially fantastic, with her cat’s eye glasses, bandanna in hair, and big muscled and tattooed arms. She’s an imposing presence even when she’s standing in her cabin doorway listening to the nature sounds, and that grin on her face makes her both inviting and dangerous at the same time.
The climactic scene with the lightning bugs is also especially good here; Allen is able to bring forth the chaos and terror that exists in that moment, and it makes Jo’s decision to try and save her friends all the more understandable. Likewise, the astrological map that appears near the end of the issue is great, because it is awesome in every meaning of the word. You can see the actual awe appearing on their faces, and more importantly you are right there with them because it’s such a neat sight as the constellations appear all around the Lumberjanes. Half of the appeal of “Lumberjanes” is Allen’s art, easily.
“Lumberjanes” #7 is another strong issue in a strong series. I was already considering myself a fan-for-life of this series, but if I hadn’t been, this one easily cemented that feeling. Strong setup and a good execution — what more can you ask for? Check it out.