Lumberjanes, Vol. 1, by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis

Lumberjanes, Vol. 1I had heard absolutely nothing but love and fangirl-ing over this comic series, so well before it was available to order I bugged my local comic shop to put the first volume on my pull list. Eventually, it was orderable, and eventually, it came in, and then I set everything aside and dove in! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to devour it in one sitting, and after reading the first two issues I was like, what the junk, I do not understand the love for this series outside of its delightful catchphrases.

So, there’s this camp, right, for Lumberjanes, who are kind of like Girl Scouts but different, I guess, and the series follows the campers of one particular cabin who are wont to leave their counselor behind and wander off on adventuresome adventures and exclaim exclamations like, “What in the Joan Jett are you doing?” But it’s definitely not your normal camp, as we find out on the third page of the first issue when we are suddenly introduced to creepy three-eyed wolves and enigmatic phrases. The second issue is much the same, with a canoe trip cut short by a three-eyed river monster and the discovery of a creepy cave. Goody? Things may also not have been helped by the fact that the issues are bracketed by pages from the Lumberjanes manual, which is made of text and so therefore I read it and hoo boy is there some terrible writing in those pages. I kind of couldn’t even.

After a night away from the book and the campers, I came back with trepidation to at least finish out this book I paid good money for. Strangely, this time around I thought the book was pretty awesome! Possibly this is because of changed expectations and less thorough reading of manual pages, possibly it actually gets significantly better. I think it gets better, because actual explainable (well…) stuff starts happening, like the fact that the cave is booby-trapped and the girls have to work together to get out of it, and then we meet Boy Scouts Scouting Lads who are not quite what they seem and these are storylines I know what to do with. We also get to know the individual girls better over the course of four issues and so I was better able to care about them and their exploits. I’m usually a fan of in medias res, but I could really have used at least one smidgen of knowledge to start this book off right.

On the plus side, now that I’m through with this volume I can see that things are exciting and crazy and I very much want to know what happens next. I’m not sure I could take this in single issues, though, so I’ll just be waiting patiently here for the next collection and working on my Pungeon Master badge.

Recommendation: For ladies who have ever gone to camp and fans of rad girls doing rad things.

Rating: 8/10

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