Lumberjanes #16 reveals more about Rosie, Abigail and their tie to the bear woman! The girls rescue Jen … kinda.
Previously in Lumberjanes #15: More snow, the girls team up with a boy and Jo gets to know jealousy.
SOME INTERESTING REVEALS
Since the original Lumberjanes miniseries writers Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters have teased the history of Rosie – the tough lady in charge of the Lumberjanes camp – and in Lumberjanes #16 a lot of that gets paid off. Through a series of sepia-toned flashbacks readers get real insight into Rosie and Abigail’s friendship. It’s an effective comparison between the figures of authority and the issue’s five point-of-view characters.
Rosie’s lackadaisical approach to running the camp is also addressed in Lumberjanes #16 as reactionary to the Bear Woman’s extremely strict Frank Burns-esque running of the camp during her time as a camper. Stevenson and Watters also use the rift between Rosie and the Bear Woman to separate the two of them in a moment of high drama toward the end of the issue.
As for Mal, Jo, Molly, Ripley and April, through the course of Lumberjanes #16 the girls are reunited with their counsellor Jen – the goal toward which they have been toiling for this entire story arc. Not only are they reunited with their fear-filled leader, but the Lumberjanes follow a herd of possessed speaking animals … because, why not? Even following a warning to stay together and stay safe when the true danger is revealed to them the girls (in a move that feels just a little bit too meta for the series), are determined to rush headlong into conflict as long as victory means that they all get to stay together and be friends.
In Lumberjanes #16 Rosie learns that she can’t save Abigail after all – in the face of a deadly mythical beast – but much like the young women under her care, she isn’t willing to give up on a friend who means everything to her. To be fair, this is likely wrapped up in a good deal of guilt amidst the dramatic tension, but again, the parallels Stevenson and Watters have penned in between the adult and child characters are not to be missed.
I am not certain if Lumberjanes #16 is the penultimate issue of this latest story arc, although it certainly seems to be. Much like the initial miniseries the stakes are high – even in this Welcome To Nightvale-esque universe – and an issue-long battle scene seems immanently on the horizon. This issue marries the adventure and humour that fans of the series have come to expect with a little more focus this time around on the adventure. For my money, amidst the swirling conflict Lumerjanes is at its best and, as a result, Lumberjanes #16 is easily one of the best of the series to date and is certain to delight readers that have been following the escapades of Molly, Mal, Ripley, April, Jo and everyone else that gets caught up in their collective tornado.
THE ART ROCKS
Brooke Allen is a consistent superstar and Lumberjanes #16 is no different. The characters are each as visually distinct as their personalities are. Allen is prone to have her characters overreact in the most cartoonish style possible, often recalling popular cartoons like Adventure Time and Gravity Falls and she chooses when to employ this artistic hyperbole well. For instance, when Mal, Molly, April, Ripley and Jo are finally reunited with Jen it seems as if they are about to rip through the fabric of reality with their stretching and enthusiasm.
The events of Lumberjanes #16 are raised to a dramatic pitch when a blizzard rips through the forest. During the storm Allen makes excellent use of negative space in the amount of snow she includes in any given panel. The ridiculous amount of snow also allows Maarta Laiho to shine in her work on Lumberjanes #16’s colours.
Additionally, the aforementioned flashback/memory scenes that center around Rosie, Abigail and the Bear Woman are all sepia-toned allowing Laiho to stretch her colourist muscles and prove that she is capable of thoughtful visual storytelling in both candy bright colours and a more restricted colour palate.
As always, the art of Lumberjanes #16 is a fun feast for the eyes.
BOTTOM LINE: PENULTIMATE GREATNESS
Lumberjanes #16 ramps up the drama, reunites some friends and rips other further asunder. This is a great issue for fans of the series and pays off many minor details from earlier issues. Great for readers of all ages, genders and credos!