Trying to take advantage of the first quiet day at camp in a while, Mal and Molly's date takes a bizarre turn with the appearance of the Bear Woman! Back at camp, Jo, April, and Ripley must stay on their toes as they try and earn every badge possible, which ends up being a lot harder than any of them ever planned.
This New York Times bestselling series continues with Lumberjanes #9, "If You Got It, Haunt It Badge;" #10, "Abscence Make the Heart Grow Fondant Badge;" #11, "Go Ball-istic Badge;" and #12, "Oldie but Goodie Badge."
ND Stevenson is the award-winning, bestselling author and illustrator of Nimona and The Fire Never Goes Out, the co-creator of Lumberjanes, and was the showrunner for the award-winning Netflix series She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. He currently lives in Los Angeles.
It was somewhat with surprise that I found myself enjoying the first two Lumberjanes graphic novels, as it’s not a form I’m drawn to (ha-ha) normally. Unfortunately, the third novel stumbles in both artwork and story, and my love affair seems to be settling into a low flame. Originally conceived in terms of the arc completed in Volumes 1 and 2, Volume 3 had to reinvent itself, choosing to take us back to the individual girls. There wasn’t a great deal of character depth in the first two volumes, which focused more on teamwork and a plot at breakneck pace.
The beginning of the volume centers around the time-honored tradition, campfire stories. With each storyteller, the artist also changes, somewhat suiting the style of the teller. In the second half of the edition, the group splits in two, with Mal and Molly off to enjoy a possibly romantic picnic, and Jo, April and Riley off to earn badges.
Characterization is where it both shines and fails for me. As storytellers, the reader gets a insight into each girl’s style. In the breakout, we get more depth on Mal and Molly. Back in camp, we learn more about April, which turned out to be confusing in context of earlier build. I perceived her as a natural, calm, enthusiastically positive team leader (pointing out others’ skills) and in this one she becomes almost scarily obsessed with getting a badge. Her friends go along in support, but with less enthusiasm.
Vol 3: April goes bonkers for badges
Contrast: Vol 2: A calm leader, as well as the only one with eyeballs.
But my biggest issue with the volume is the artwork. Once the storytelling and guest artists finish, the art is taken over by Brittney Williams. There’s a notable infantilization of the figures. Big eyes, simplistic lines, rounded edges, lighter colors; I started to feel a little more manga-like rather than the more edgy and complex visual depth from earlier issues.
Contrast Vol.2: a dark and gloomy forest, messy hair, downward eyebrows
The camp director, a riff on Rosie the Riveter, is particularly, unfortunately, softened.
Vol. 3: a softened Rosie declares a free day
Vol.2: Rosie confronts Bear Woman
The first two collections are billed as ‘all-ages’ graphic novels. but this one really felt targeted to a younger set. However, I guess artistic changeover is a common facet of comics, and perhaps also of graphic novels. Which–allow me to get my grump on–only further solidifies my perception that they are very far removed from the storytelling form of a short story or novel. So here’s hoping for further change toward an all-ages look. I’ll continue the series, but without the same degree of enthusiasm.
This entry in the Lumberjanes series opens up with the classic setup of ghost stories being told around a campfire. The girls' different personalities are highlighted in the stories they choose to tell.
Then, the camp has a free day where everyone can pick their own activity. Hijinks ensue.
Mal and Molly go on a picnic date in the woods and, in typical Lumberjane fashion, something totally unexpected happens.
"Molly, we are doomed. SO DOOMED. AN UNSCALABLE MOUNTAIN OF DOOMED."
"Mal, come on. We're gonna figure this out. It's going to be fine..."
Are they doomed? Will April, Jo and Ripley be able to earn at least one badge before the day is up?
My first experience reading a graphic novel has been Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson. My reviews of Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy and Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max can be found here and here. The four chapters comprising the second volume--in which the Greek gods Artemis and Apollo visit Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Girls Hardcore Lady Types and wreck havoc--was like an under roasted marshmellow slapped on a s'more by a hungry camper.
Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan is a return to the character driven comedic fantasy I enjoyed in chapters one through four. Written by Noelle Stevenson & Shannon Watters, chapters nine through twelve peel back the ink on each of the main players, dug a little deeper into the whimsical mythology of the camp and introduced some variety by having eight different illustrators lend their styles to different segments of the book, which anyone who hasn't read Vol. 1 or Vol. 2 should be able to pick up and enjoy as a cohesive whole without reading the previous two volumes.
As the story opens, our Lumberjanes--Ripley, Molly, Mal, April and Jo--surround a campfire under the supervision of their cabin leader, Jen. The hardcore lady types take turns earning their If You Got It, Haunt It badges by telling scary stories. To my delight as a reader, each story is illustrated by a different artist and in addition to breaking up the style of the series, I found this to be a wonderful way to explore who each of these characters are.
In "Wrong Number," Jen's responsible decision making proves anticlimactic with the scouts. In "Ghost Girl," the arts and sciences inclined Jo goes back in time to tell of a popular girl who vanishes before her family's eyes. In "Bad Candy," Ripley, an idiot savant, tells of a girl who eats some cursed candy and is ensnared by a monster before her pets rescue her; the illustrations of this segment are a window into Ripley's mind I never wanted.
In "Lonely Road," Mal subverts expectations with a true horror story of a young couple whose car stalls in a snowstorm and are terrorized by strange noises in the night. In "Tailypo," Molly tells of a hungry woodsman and his dog who come upon a ferocious animal who does not appreciate having its tail chopped off and made into a stew. In "Old Betty," April tells of abandoned house rumored to be haunted by the spirit of its vanished owner. April is very theatrical and I get the impression that she's read Henry James as well.
The ghost story device propelled Mal to the top of my list of favorite characters. Her "based on an almost true story" displayed the most sophistication. We later find out she plays in a garage band back home and though the authors are subtle enough not to identify her as "lesbian" or "gay" her character clearly is. Her girlfriend Molly earns her badge with the story of the tailypo. Later in the book, we learn that the athletic Molly doesn't have many friends at home. In spite of her golden looks, she seems to have learned to go within herself a lot. Maybe I'm projecting here.
The rest of Lumberjanes, Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan involves a Free Day at the camp in which the scouts are allowed to do whatever they want. Mal and Molly go off together on a picnic date, while April, Jo and Ripley find themselves enormously bored without any monsters to fight. Mal and Molly cross paths with the mysterious Bear Woman and follow her into a magic outhouse, discovering this is a portal to a land of the lost populated by dinosaurs and carnivorous plants. They learn more about each other as they attempt to find a way home. Meanwhile, April, Jo and Ripley compete for Lumberjane badges in activities which brings out the best, and worst, in their natures.
One of the pleasures of Lumberjanes is how strong and smart young girls are depicted without the authors patting themselves on the backs or promoting Girl Power. These attributes are just accepted. Without boys around to expose their weaknesses or make them second-guess themselves, the Lumberjanes are permitted to develop their own voices and skills, gain knowledge and experience, and strengthen the bonds of their friendship. The comedy in this book is less joke-based and very rooted in the characters. And I can't say enough about the artwork, with Carolyn Nowak illustrating the chapters, and Britney Williams, Aimee Fleck, Faith Erin Hicks, Rebecca Tobin, Felicia Choo and T. Zysk contributing a ghost story along with Nowak.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I've lost a bit of my enthusiasm for this series with the changes that have been made in this volume. Before it was fun and exciting because it was full of mayhem. It gave you the sense of adventure like the characters . Even the illustrations reflected that. They were more rustic. Everything has been polished up and smoothed out. I prefer the fast paced madness from the first two volumes.
Having said that, I still think it's a great series for any young girl (or adult)
Mal and Molly go off on a date that ends up being a lot more as the rest of the crew set out to start building their scout badge hauls. The vanilla far out weighs the strange, and although I can't actually fault the final product, or stop reading it, it does feels like something is missing... a sense and feel of urgency or peril? 7 out of 12.
I don't quite know how to rate this one, because it's so different from the first two volumes. I'm pretty sure this book marks the occasion of Lumberjanes being made from a limited run series to an ongoing, so changes have been made accordingly, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about all of them yet.
The most notable thing of course is that the series has a new artist. Actually, two of them (plus several guest artists in the first issue collected here, which features all the girls telling ghost stories that are then drawn in various styles). This means a new color palette, and new ways of drawing the characters. It's a little bit toned down, less bright and frenetic, less crowded.
Actually, that describes the book as a whole. And you know what, I miss the freneticism, the almost schizophrenic action and quick cuts, and so much random plot happenings shoved into four small issues. It was more cartoony, but it also felt more quick and fun.
This new approach is probably smart, though, if the series is shooting for longevity. Spending more time on individual stories, calming the tone down so that you can get to know each girl more, and each weird storyline gets its due.
And its central weirdness is still present, even if it's calmed down a bit. A woman who can turn into a bear is still a central plot point. Mal and Molly get sucked into an alternate world full of dinosaurs. Meanwhile, April, Jo and Ripley spend a full day trying, and failing, to be normal. It feels a bit like treading water, but it's also pretty amusing.
In all, it feels like Lumberjanes had to rethink its identity a little bit, and is still finding its feet. I'm confident it will, though. Volume 4 comes out in just a couple of months, and I'm so there.
Me ha gustado también muchísimo. En este tomo continúan las aventuras de las leñadoras. Empezamos a ver tramas más profundas y más misteriosas que pueden llegar a ser grandes momentos de las siguientes novelas. También vuelvo a repetir que este libro es un grito a la amistad y a la sororidad entre las mujeres. Y por supuesto, aquí también se ve aún más la representación LGTB+ y eso me ha fascinado. Estoy deseando ver más de esos momentos en los siguientes tomos. Vemos que detrás del campamento de las leñadoras hay un gran misterio, más grande del que podemos imaginar. Yo estoy deseando saber muchas cosas más sobre este campamento y que aventuras les van a deparar. Es que es todo tan mágico, bonito e increíble... Y el dibujo en fin, no tengo mucho más que añadir que no dijera ya en la reseña del primero, es increíble y me encanta. Deseando tener el tercer tomo.
While I'm still enjoying this graphic novel series, this volume still fell a tad flat for me. First of all, there is a change in art and graphic design and I really liked the original versions much better. Second, I don't know that the story flowed that well for me. Usually in graphic novels, since they are collections of single issues, each "chapter" flows into the other. I didn't get quite the feeling of cohesiveness on this one. That being said, I did enjoy the story line which centered around "bear woman" and how it opened with all the girls hanging out around the campfire telling scary (not so scary) ghost stories. It made for some really fun illustrations.
I will be continuing on with this series because I still love the girls and am sure there are plenty of other tales to tell. I just hope they pick up some and hold a little more interest for me.
This is volume #3 in the ongoing, hilariously weird Lumberjanes series and I have to say I was excited for this. I loved #1 and really enjoyed Vol. #2 but this one felt a little less cohesive to me. I think this comes in part from the fact that there are guest artists working on these issues and this means that we have disruption in the style, tone and flow of the book. The set up for the story within this is one of ghost stories and fun though which does lend itself to other art styles and shifts in voice and flow.
We also have the storyline of Molly and Mal's romance. This is something which has been hinted at in previous issues but this volume certainly brought the two of them much closer and made it fairly clear that they were in a relationship rather than a friendship. I really liked this element of the story and felt it made the whole group stronger and better when these two characters could talk openly about their fears and hopes.
On the whole, this is still hugely fun and a fast read for sure, but it wasn't as captivating or hilarious for me as the previous volumes have been. I am hoping that I will like volume #4 more (although I don't know if it's returning to the original team and set up or not) and I hope we get more of an extended, wacky story in that one too. Still very likeable and fun, 3*s
Eu sou apaixonada pelo universo Lumberjanes!! Muito feliz que a April tá com mais espaço nessa HQ e FINALMENTE um date do OTP da história <3 <3 Meu único problema foi que as ilustrações dessa edição não foram da Brooklyn Waters e não só foi estranho essa mudança já que os vol. 1, 2 e 4 são feitos por ela, como eu não curti o traço da Nowak.
Nada que me desanime a continuar lendo essa série. FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX!
No me ha parecido tan guay como el anterior pero aun así ha sido maravilloso. Quiero mucho a todas mis hijas. Sobre todo a Mal y Molly. Y APRIL, AY, QUE LA AMO, ES QUE ES YO. Os juro que me meaba con ella, que se han puesto a hacer un concurso de scrapbooking. En fin, que me ha encantado, como todo lo que llevo de Lumberjanes. Recomendadísimo.
The first eight issues of Lumberjanes worked really well because each issue had it's own self-contained story with little story elements that contributed to a larger story which came to a head later on, which is a good way for a mini-series to work, especially one longer than 4 or so issues.
Now that the series has become an ongoing, it seems to have stalled with this third volume, which is disappointing.
The first issue of the volume is a jam session between a few different artists as the 'Janes try to earn a badge for scary story telling, resulting in different writer/artists for each story. It's a fun little issue with some spooky stuff and some hilarity thrown in too, and probably the best issue of the four here.
The next three issues have enough plot for one or two issues, but instead stretch it to three and this means it wears out its welcome quickly. Two of the 'Janes get trapped in another dimension, whilst the others work their hardest to earn some of the 'normal' badges around the camp. It's nice to see the characters interacting, since the character interactions are one of the strengths of the series easily, but by the end of the three issues, it feels like no time has passed at all and we could have had more story for the space.
The artist from the first two volumes also seems to have departed, but the replacement is equally as good; there are more expressive faces this time around, with all of the characters gaining actual eyes instead of just a :) (although I noted the versatility of this in the review for the first two volumes), and the colour palette remains as beautiful as ever; I love the subtle differences between the camp and the dinosaur dimension.
Lumberjanes drops the ball with this third volume, although it's still enjoyable, just not as good as I'd have liked. Hopefully we get back on track going forward, and this is just teething problems from the mini-series/ongoing transition.
I really enjoyed this. Like REALLY enjoyed this. These books are just too cute.
So first of all, Mal and Mol ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Their relationship is so freaking adorable. I am so proud that Stevenson added a notable LGBT relationship in a book that is technically for "juveniles." Their relationship is just so sweet and normal -- this is the way to encourage intersectionality in kids books. Other authors should take note.
So this volume has two main plots:
1. Mal and Mol go on a date "picnic" and while on their picnic they see the magical bear lady. So naturally they follow her into a lost demision and they have to battle an adorable bespeckled dinosaur in order to find their way home.
2. So while Mal and Mol are on an adventure with Bear Lady the rest of the Lumberjanes are trying to earn some normal badges for once. However, being "normal" proves difficult for April, Jo and Ripley. They attack every challenge with a level of intensity that might just be a little much ! My favorite badge attempt was the Abscence makes the heart grown fondant; a cake decorating challenge.
I mean just look at April, she is READY. An icing pipe in each hand; don't mess with her!
Overall, this was just a really fun volume, full of all the normal shenanigans and a little romance ♥
He disfrutado mucho este segundo volumen de la serie. Quizás es un pelín más oscuro que el primero, pero mantiene el nivel en cuanto a diversión, misterio y valores positivos (compañerismo, solidaridad...). Me ha gustado profundizar más en los personajes y saber más sobre la historia del campamento. También me ha gustado ver cómo distintas ilustradoras se han encargado de cada capítulo imprimiendo sus propios estilos a la historia. Estoy deseando hincarle el diente al siguiente.
This third volume didn't really draw me in as much as its predecessors. I wasn't too keen on the artwork - the guest artists hadn't drawn the characters in a flattering light and most of them all had the same features with different haircuts which was a bit bemusing. I really wish Noelle Stevenson had been the illustrator throughout because her covers are bloody wonderful!
I also found this story to be much weaker than the others. Whilst the first chapter reads like any in the first two volumes, the others focus on Mal and Molly being trapped in a different universe/time zone with the bear woman, while April, Jo and Ripley try to earn any badge they possibly can, regardless of how mundane the task is.
Now this should sound like fun but to be honest, there wasn't much fun to be had. Yes, we learned more about Mal and Molly and their reasons for attending camp and their fears back home and for the future which really contributed to their character development, however, we learned nothing about April, Jo or Ripley, and to me, this felt like a wasted opportunity. Although, Stevenson does explore the LGBT theme between Mal and Molly which adds an adult edge to an otherwise very silly story.
Overall, Lumberjanes Vol 3 is an okay read but if you expect excitement, involvement and to be swept away into a chaotic and kick-ass world, read its predecessors!
Every volume causes me to fall more in love with this series. The Lumberjanes' enthusiasm and zest for adventure are contagious. They are the cool kids we always wanted to be, not from any sense of envy or anything, more in the sense of, "My friends and I have fun and do cool stuff together! The Lumberjanes have fun and do cool stuff together! We should ALL get together and it would be even more fun and extra cool! Yay!!" This volume splits up the team as Mal and Molly get involved in an adventure with the bear woman, while the rest of the gang work on merit badges ("Competitive Scrapbooking"! Yeah!) Dinosaurs and cake are involved, but I'll let you discover where and with which group(s). In some ways, this series reminds me of Jimmy Gownley's Amelia Rules. Both feature strong, believable female protagonists and get the details of childhood exactly right, not necessarily in the strictly factual sense, but in the outlook and mental attitude. And both are hysterically funny, highly enjoyable titles. Lumberjanes is the comic book I longed for when I was twelve, and somewhere, deep inside, part of me still is.
First of all, if you haven’t read the first two, don’t read my review!!!
Second, I am so in love with Mal and Molly that I’m thinking they should have their own spinoff or something. I cannot wait to read more of their cuteness!!!
Third, this series is extremely bingeable and it’s so strange and funny!!! I burst out sometimes and my hubs thinks I’m losing it!! I’m going to keep these “reviews” (if I can even call this a review) short since there are so many volumes. However, this one is just as great as volume two and I’m totally psyched to keep going!!
Lumberjanes is just the best all-ages graphic novel series around. Friendship, (gentle) romance, mystery and excitement (and dinosaurs, and women who become bears) at summer camp, this is total genius start to finish.
*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. Please do not use it in any marketing material, online or in print, without asking permission from me first. Thank you!*
Aw, Mal and Molly are so darn cute. And Bear Woman is officially my favourite side character. There's a nice balance in this volume between the high stakes alt universe with dinosaurs action that Mal and Molly get wrapped up in and the rest of the gang failing miserably at getting 'normal' badges.