How do you go about tracking an energy vampire? By confronting your own fears. The trouble is, when you’re a Lumberjane, you might have some pretty awful things to be afraid of!
Writer: Shannon Watters and Kay Leyh
Colorist: Maarta Laiho
Letterer: Aubrey Aiese
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 17, 2018
Previously in Lumberjanes: The girls follow a treasure map, collecting several pieces of a stone statue that they put together (with Ripley’s glitter glue). The statue comes to life, and turns out to be Tromatikos, a sort of energy vampire known for stealing the power of the gods. Hearing about Ripley’s powers, the vampire takes Ripley and vanishes. While Rosie confers with the Greek gods, Ripley is driving Tromatikos crazy with her short attention span. Rosie has no luck, and Jen turns to the Lumberjanes, asking to be part of whatever they plan. Then Diane has an idea for how to find Tromatikos…
TROMATIKOS VS. RIPLEY
Lumberjanes #55 starts out with the Roanokes heading out, once again, into the woods. Diane gave them some weird advice about having to take the scariest path to find Tromatikos. Mal puts into words what they all know – that they’re facing off against a creature who scares gods and goddesses, and there’s a path ahead of them that looks terrifying. It must be the way to go. The girls muster their courage and head on.
Ripley has been captured, but so have all the magical kittens, which Ripley is playing with. Tromatikos, who is pretty cranky by now, demands access to her unlimited power. Instead, Tater Tots breathes fire on her. Ripley is aghast until the vampire merely absorbs the energy. Then she begs Tromatikos to do it again. The vampire starts a dramatic speech, only to have Ripley get distracted. Tromatikos has apparently never met anyone quite like the young scout. She finally gathers up Ripley and all the kittens, and demands again that the girl give her the power. Instead, using the kittens, Ripley phases away.
Meanwhile, the Roanokes are going through a really dark, spooky part of the forest. Mal hears rustling in the leaves. April sees something out of the corner of her eye. Then a movie monster, in black and white, shows up. And then more. Movie monsters are something that terrifies Ripley, and Jo realizes this. They must be getting closer. They charge in.
On the other hand, Ripley is running, and trying very hard to believe that the monsters she fears are not real. They startle her, and she drops some cat food, which the cats immediately swarm. This puts them in danger from the monsters, and Ripley, squelching her fear, defends them. With some help from Marigold, who grows huge and crushes the monsters. This makes Tromatikos even more irate – she used her power to create the place they’re in, and she is hungry. Ripley finally understands, and admits that she doesn’t have the power anymore – she used a wish to make it be gone forever. But as for weird magic, she goes on, there’s no place like the Camp. At which point Tromatikos gets a new idea and vanishes.
EXPRESSIVE AND FULL OF LIFE
In Lumberjanes #55, we go from the woods, which are definitely even spookier than usual, to Tromatikos’ pocket universe, which is extremely sterile. This provides for a lot of contrast, and it’s particularly interesting because the woods, which are the most familiar to the girls, also hold the most terror. Ripley is in a dangerous situation and it should be terrifying, but thanks to her short attention span, it’s actually quite funny. The humor is delightful – the magical kittens are as playful as ever and it is huge fun to see them being utterly kitten-like and then ridiculously magical.
Facial expressions can say so much, and here they say it all. I’ve touched on fear already, but we get joy, affection, determination and more. And the icing on the cake is Tromatikos. She keeps trying to be terrifying and triumphant, but her frustration and irritation come through loud and clear. I enjoy the concept of an essentially immortal, nearly all-powerful creature being unequipped to deal with a young lady who can’t pay attention to her long enough to be impressed.
BOTTOM LINE: LUMBERJANES DOES IT AGAIN
How do they do it? Lumberjanes #55 is a chapter in a book that has been around for a while now. The whole point is that there are going to be adventures at camp. Yet the creators have once again given us a plot with a fascinating (and a bit scary) villainess and challenging problems to solve, and the characters have plenty of room to grow.