Lumberjanes Volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holy

For those of us no longer excited by expensive serial comic releases, those who want more satisfying chunks of story, those who like longer-lasting comic formats, or those who can no longer remember the details of a story month to month, the most-talked-about new series of last year has put out its first collection.

Lumberjanes Volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holy collects the first four issues of the series, making up the first half of the first storyline. It’s written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis and illustrated by Brooke Allen.

I loved the framing conceit. It’s obvious but amusing and well-executed. The book is set up like a scout guide, or in this case, the “Lumberjanes Field Manual for the Intermediate Program, Prepared for the Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types”. Each chapter (issue) is introduced by a new badge with an old-fashioned description of how to achieve it.

Lumberjanes Volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holy cover

In case you’re unfamiliar with this gang of girls whose rallying cry is “Friendship to the max!”, there are five of them: Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley. They have crazy adventures in the woods nearby the summer camp they’re attending, including saving each other from three-eyed mystical foxes, canoeing some river rapids, exploring a mysterious cave, arm-wrestling a statue, and solving important math problems and anagrams. They also have tea and cookies with the Scouting Lads and cope with counselor Jen, who doesn’t have a lot of patience for their sneaking around.

The art’s impressively active and diverse. Allen is capable of dealing with all the various imaginative elements thrown into this crazy adventure as well as the caring emotions among the young women. Plus, the dialogue is realistic, although I still am not entirely sure which name goes with which camper.

Although the mystery is just getting started by the end of this volume, there are enough incidents and encounters to make this a fun read, although fans will definitely want the eventual next book to know what all the clues were about. The nice thing about Boom!’s collections is that they include copies of the many multiple covers, including retailer and convention exclusives, so they’re a lot easier and cheaper way to see the related art without chasing variants. Plus, there are a couple of character design pages included as well.