Diane is back in town and with her come more problems for our favorite perpetual summer campers. Read on for our review of “Lumberjanes” #29, but be warned, there are some spoilers within.
Written by Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh
Illustrated by Carey Pietsch and Maarta Laiho
Diane is back at camp and the Roanokes…don’t really know how to feel about that, especially when they discover some campers have been turned to stone!
It’s kind of wild to think that “Lumberjanes” is up to it’s twenty-ninth issue when it was initially sold to potential readers as a miniseries. It’s a book that’s taken on a life of it’s own and if all goes well, it’ll be a successful film geared at a young audience. I’ve been in and out of “Lumberjanes” the last couple of months so with a new storyline getting started, I figured this would be as good as a place as any to jump right back in. “Lumberjanes” #29 is an extremely fun start to a storyline that takes time to teach some valuable lessons.
April, Jo, Ripley, Mal, Molly and Jen wake up excited because they are going to have breakfast with the Zodiac cabin. This is extra important because this will be Barney’s first day as a Lumberjane after they left the Scouting Lads. All is going well until they discover that Barney and the rest of the Zodiac cabin have been turned to stone and who’s back at camp? Diane. With Diane back, April is on the attack and now they must find out who turned the Zodiac cabin into stone and how to change them back.
“Lumberjanes” #29 has a couple of really important moments that are worth talking about. Like most media aimed at a younger audience, there’s an opportunity to teach lessons and that’s what this issue does. Barney’s integration into this camp continues to be a great teaching point for young kids. There’s the normalization of trans identity and the correct usage of the they pronoun when Barney is spoken about. Then there’s a conversation between Mal and Ripley that addresses the complexity of family relationships and how not everyone get to go home to a happy situation. It’s this kind of subject matter that makes “Lumberjanes” more than mindless entertainment for children. This is what we need more of in comic books, television and movies and I’m glad “Lumberjanes” has been here for 29 issues to do it.
As I mentioned, this is the first issue I’ve read in a couple of months and I found it incredibly easy to jump back into. Diane’s backstory is given in full so none of the context is lost. Watters and Leyh know who their audience is and know that they can craft a story that’s easy to follow but still builds on itself. Names are repeated, context is given behind character motivations and the script is tight but still manages to highlight each character and their quirks. It’s not the best first issue to read but it’s also fine for a lapsed reader.
Carey Pietsch’s art is so warm and inviting, so it’s easy to see why she’s been a good fit for this series. “Lumberjanes” has had a few different artists since it’s launch but each has really maintained the distinct look of the series. Along with colorist Maarta Laiho, there’s an earthiness to the book. This actually feels like summer camp despite some of the supernatural elements that have been introduced as the series has gone on. Pietsch’s work in this issue has a lot of range. She’s able to perfectly capture the rage in April and the tender moments like the one between Mal and Ripley. The double page sequence where Diane explains why she’s here is a fun but different looking mythology bit that still feels like it belongs here. That’s the thing with “Lumberjanes”. Each artist has come in and done some stuff like this that shouldn’t fit in this world but does because with Laiho, the tone remains consistent. It’s otherwordly but Laiho pulls it back into a context that makes sense with this story.Continued below
“Lumerjanes” #29 is another strong issue for the series that shows no signs of slowing down. It’s fun and written for a truly all ages audience with joyous art and beautiful, meaningful coloring. It’s gained hype for a good reason.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – A fun issue that builds on the past without burdening itself.