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Review: Lumberjanes #22

Picking up where the last issue of Lumberjanes left offLumberjanes_022_A_Main, Seafarin’ Karen jumps to attack the selkies in her wolf form, but is stopped by the whirlpools. Reminding her that no Lumberjane is left behind, and that Jo is the only one around here that learned the pledge, Mal, April and Jo agree to help out Karen. Meanwhile, Molly and Ripley are off to find portals with the Bear Woman. Which may or may not be a great idea.

How Lumberjanes manages to stay so consistently great and heartwarming, I have no idea, but they need to keep doing that. Both the a-plot and the b-plot show the main characters at their best, reminding the reader what they’re about. The line about Jo being the only one who actually memorized the Lumberjanes pledge is a great callback to the first issue and April’s enthusiasm to help Karen is only matched by Mal’s quick thinking and Jo’s engineering genius to create a truss that goes over the water to the boat. If this mini-arc is all about teamwork, this issue does a fantastic job of showing the girls working together both at half capacity and in a pinch. Not to mention the no-sell reactions the girls have to Karen being a werewolf and the scene where Karen and the ‘Janes sing sea shanties together are utter delights.

In the b-plot, The Bear Woman is sketchy as usual, but the interactions between her and Molly remind us of a particular character aspect of Molly’s that hasn’t been brought up in a while: her insecurity. Part of the reason she helps the Bear Woman is because of the fact she feels bad that she wouldn’t bring back any useful information to the other. If only she knew how worried Mal was feeling right at the moment over her own distrust of the Bear Woman. Ripley, of course, is in it for the dinosaurs. Never change, Rip.

Of course, one has to wonder just how much Molly is going to regret going through with helping the Bear Woman, especially with storms brewing on both sides of the portals and portals growing in the water below. What a cliffhanger.

While Carey Pietsch is only a guest artist for this arc, her art is quickly becoming some of my favorites from Lumberjanes. Her scenery and backgrounds are lush, especially when mixed with Maarta Laiho’s colors, and her sense of body language keeps the book moving quickly. Really though, her biggest strength is her facial expressions. It was easy to find myself laughing at a panel just for the way a character looked as it was with what they were saying. You can definitely tell she must be having a blast illustrating Seafarin’ Karen, especially in this issue where she easily flips between wolf and human forms and takes on some more canine expressions. There’s a panel with only a head tilt I keep going back to just for the sheer reason it cracks me up.

This issue and arc of Lumberjanes continues to prove why it is one of the most consistently great comics out there today. Even when it isn’t doing a deep story dive with its adventures, the comic is still about spotlighting the girls and expanding their characters in small ways. Kat Leyh has been finding her footing with the characters more with each passing issue and Pietsch’s art in this issue is so wonderfully expressive. It will be exciting to see how this arc continues next month with the boat caught in a storm of portals and Molly and Ripley stuck with a grumpy Bear Woman in a dinosaur dimension.

Story: Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh Art: Carey Pietsch and Maarta Laiho
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review