Friday, April 11, 2014

Review - Lumberjanes #1


"To grandmother's house we go!"

Comics continue to get bigger and bigger. Marvel is proving there are audiences chomping at the bit for their properties, more and more unique books are making their way into stores and publishers like Image, Dark Horse and BOOM! are leading the charge when it comes to small press zombies. BOOM! Studios is offering a ton of great stuff, including their newest book Lumberjanes #1. The issue is written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis, illustrated by Brook Allen, colored by Maarta Laiho and lettered by Aubrey Aiese.

Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together…and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way. In this case, the supernatural critters happen to be a bunch of really angry foxes marauding through the forest. Their galavanting makes for great storytelling, but there are some back at the camp who are a little perplexed by their fascination with sneaking out at all hours of the night. And how they managed to fend off all the crazy critters.

Stevenson and Ellis approach the work with a very awesome sensibility. The characters are in a pretty tough situation, but they're strangely ready for everything that's thrown their way. They go after them with gusto and actually make it quite exciting for themselves, not backing off out of any fear. It speaks to the general, awe-inspiring approach infused into the characters courtesy of Stevenson and Ellis. There are shades of Powerpuff Girls throughout the issue as well, with the main characters completely comfortable with fighting off whatever comes their way. And what's better is that the book doesn't hesitate in dropping the reader into the thick of things, picking up the characters' night amidst all the monster fighting.

Allen's illustrations are very cheeky. The characters are illustrated with a cartoonish mentality and the illustrations just make the book feel weird, which is a very good thing. The settings are illustrated with an emphasis on the night details, while the characters stand out very well amidst those backgrounds. There's tone of creativity in the foxes as well, as Allen manages to make them look more feral and fierce than more normal foxes. The way Allen illustrates the book gives it a phenomenal sense of awe and imagination, with Allen really tapping into the wonderment that often accompanies summer camp (even if most summer camps aren't quite as adventurous as this). Panels aren't quite traditional, with plenty of insets and shaky borders that give the book more of an "at camp" feel.

Lumberjanes #1 offers a very wholesome story that's a joy to read. Stevenson and Ellis have created a very interesting and airy book about a group of campers who have a lot more to them than just being able to create fires in the wild. Allen's illustrations add a childish sensibility to the book as well, ensuring that the reader comes away feeling rejuvenated mentally, yet finding something deeper to grab onto. The book trades on friendship and zaniness, both of which comes together in a very sound way that makes the book pleasantly charming. It's definitely a fun read that reminds you that there is always room for books like Lumberjanes #1.

Lumberjanes #1 is available now with interiors below.









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