After battling dinosaurs, horned blizzard wolves, fighting mermaids, pirate selkies, hallucinatory flowers, and cake decorating, it’s become clear that anything, no matter how exaggerated or imaginative, is fair game for the Lumberjanes to encounter and eventually win over.
This newest storyline, though, may have gone just a bit too far in silliness for my taste. Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh write a story about magic kittens and an earlier generation of Lumberjanes, come for a camp reunion, kidnapped by a roc (giant bird).
It begins with the five scouts sneaking Barney, a Scouting Lad from the nearby camp, into their cabin. Ripley, who was briefly a god, gave everyone there a kitten in the first arc, and now, some of the cats have wandered over to the girls’ outpost.
One of the things I appreciate about this series is its focus on female friendship, so I wasn’t crazy about putting this importance on adding a boy to the ensemble. There have been hints at him not feeling like he fits in on the boys’ side, and I’m all for finding a place you feel more comfortable, but in later issues in this storyline, they cross the line with asking him for advice in a way that feels gratuitous. He knows about birds, he draws them a map, he provides transport, he figures out how to defeat the monster. In short, he feels like a magic plot device.
Which brings me to the cats. A flock of kittens with random magical powers are also a little too convenient, as new abilities pop up whenever needed to move the adventure along. And cute as the kittens are, the whole thing is too much like an internet meme for me to enjoy the story.
Issue #25 is drawn by Carey Putsch, who does a fabulous job keeping the characters recognizable without turning her style into pure copying. She’s also good with the big-eyed kittens. And it’s neat to get to see another group of campers, with the introduction of the Zodiacs.
As an anniversary issue, #25 also has a backup story written by Chynna Clugston Flores and illustrated by Laura Lewis and Mad Rupert, in which the campers find a boy siren in the lake.
The artist changes for the following issues to Ayme Sotuyo, whose characters all look a lot more similar, particularly since they’ve been forced into matching traditional uniforms. The work is more generic, most obviously in the same faces, as is the adventure, as the scouts set out after the missing old ladies. I found myself turning pages instead of anticipating the enjoyment of what happens next. Perhaps it will all wrap together in unexpected synergy next issue, as the story concludes, but for now, this box of jumbled pieces just wasn’t coherent enough for me.
(The publisher provided digital review copies.)