BooksOfTheMoon

Lumberjanes: To the Max Edition, Vol. 5

By Shannon Watters

Rating: 4 stars

The first story in this collection moves away from Roanoke cabin to Zodiac, as Barney settles in with their cabin-mates following their move to the Lumberjanes camp last volume (incidentally, there was a nice little introduction to the idea of people’s pronouns here, which wasn’t too thickly laid on, but a good way to show it handled well). Diane has been allowed to stay, and she takes them off on a treasure hunt for magic. After this, we’re back with Roanoke, as we move into a sports-based storyline involving roller ball. I’m not a huge sports fan, but there’s enough fun in this (especially given who the opposing team are) that it keeps my attention.

The second arc sees Parents’ Day, where the various parents come to visit. This revisits previous hints that Molly’s family life isn’t happy. Seeing her watching, smiling slightly sadly, as the others make happy reunions with their families is a little heartbreaking. This seems to be something that the authors are going to leave simmering and come back to in future.

The artists change between the arcs in the volume. While I enjoyed the Carolyn Nowak’s art on the first story, Ayme Sotuyo’s work on the second felt “more Lumberjanes” to me. Both are very good and fit the type of storytelling going on here, but the second just spoke to me more. As always, everything to do with art is subjective, and YMMV.

The themes of friendship to the max, and found families persist in this volume, as the girls grow ever-closer, and the camp becomes ever-weirder. Lovely stuff.

Book details

ISBN: 9781684153121
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Year of publication: 2019

Lumberjanes: To the Max Edition, Vol. 4

By Shannon Watters

Rating: 4 stars

The fourth ‘To the Max’ edition of the Lumberjanes series first sees a group of Lumberjanes elders show up for an inspection, and promptly get kidnapped by a giant bird. It’s up to Roanoke to save them, with some help, of course. Later, we get the return of Diane from the first volume and the volume is rounded off with a little story, told by April to her notebook, about a bird-boy who starts following her around (spoiler: he doesn’t eat any of their faces).

I enjoyed the first two stories in this book immensely. Kittens, giant birds, Greek gods, courtship and friendship come together in deeply touching stories that make us think that the world will be all right, whatever happens. Some of us have great families, some not so much, but friendship and found families make it all better. The last story didn’t grab me quite so much, with a lack of depth and of the things that make Lumberjanes so great to me. I wasn’t hugely as fussed by the art style used in it either, although it did suit the story.

Book details

ISBN: 9781684151837
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Year of publication: 2018

Lumberjanes: To the Max Edition, Vol. 3

By Shannon Watters

Rating: 4 stars

The third of the hardcover ‘To the Max’ editions of the still-excellent Lumberjanes sees co-creator Noelle Stevenson leave the series after a ‘prequel’ issue to open the volume. This shows how the occupants of Roanoke cabin arrived at the Lumberjanes camp at the start of the summer. This is a nice little flashback to characters we already know and like (and a nice way to remind the reader who they after, after year or so since the last volume!).

After this, we have a story about merfolk, and April’s attempts to help two former friends repair their friendship through the medium of song. As you may expect, things don’t entirely go according to plan. I must confess that I wasn’t as taken with this story, although I don’t know how much of that was to do with the artwork, which has a different artist to before and with whom I didn’t really gel. The characters didn’t quite look right. It wasn’t that it’s a more cartoony style to before (the story that comes next also takes quite a cartoony style — with another new artist — but I liked it better) but YMMV as always.

The final story in the collection concerns selkies and the bear woman and it’s quite a strong one, and ties back to the previous volume and the ongoing strange goings on at and around the Lumberjanes camp. Again, the art is quite cartoony here, but I liked it better than the previous story. Maybe because I thought the story was a bit stronger too.

So definitely still much to enjoy here. The characters are all loveable in their own different ways, and show very different ways of being girls, all of which are equally valid. It’s definitely something that I’m excited to introduce to my niece (and nephew) when they’re a bit older

Book details

ISBN: 9781684150038
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Year of publication: 2017

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