The Birthday Shenanigans Continue In Lumberjanes #58

by James Ferguson

April has to revise her plans for Jo’s birthday party extravaganza after some yetis dash her hopes for a movie night. Not to worry though because her backup plans have backup plans. While she works fast to get plan B up and running, Mal has to keep Jo distracted. This has taken them, along with Jen and Barney to a mysterious, uncharted island where their adventures are just beginning.

Lumberjanes #58 has the elements of a classic sitcom story. We’ve seen the surprise party thing play out on TV over and over again, but never through the lens of these characters, so it’s still fresh and new. Of course, Jo knows about the party and she doesn’t want all the attention. This presents a bit of a dilemma for Mal, but that’s quickly forgotten about as they’re presented with some new opportunities.

I really feel for Mal in this issue. She’s way out of her comfort zone, but she’s determined to see this through because Jo is such a great friend. This means looking over her greatest fear and soldiering on. The same can be said for the other characters who all challenge themselves to do something good for their friend. That’s how much this means to them. It’s more than a little funny that Jo doesn’t want any of this.

You can see that play out in the facial expressions of each of the Lumberjanes. Artist AnneMarie Rogers does a great job with these, primarily concern, worry, and stress. I love the look some of them give when they’re suddenly presented with some terrifying new detail. It’s like their whole face turns upside down in this fun, cartoonish way. You can almost hear a slide whistle playing in the background as their heart sinks.

Mal’s stress is visible as sweat pours down her face. She lets Barney in on some of the plan in a whispered exchange. Letterer Aubrey Aiese puts a dotted line around the word balloons to indicate the quiet speaking which is a nice touch.

There are worse places to be stranded than a mysterious island. It’s an absolutely gorgeous landscape. Colorist Maarta Laiho brings this to life with luscious greens and warm blues. While it’s a harrowing experience for these characters, you can’t help but get caught up in the excitement as to what they might find here.

That feeling of adventure is constant throughout Lumberjanes #58. Every issue opens the possibility of new and exciting tales and this chapter definitely fits the bill. Writers Shannon Watters & Kat Leyh make me want to go to camp, which is saying something because I don’t even want to go outside. There’s something really special about this place and these characters that bring out that wide-eyed awe that can only be found in children of a certain age. It’s that excitement you’d get when summer vacation starts and it’s a joy to read.

Lumberjanes #58 from Boom! Studios is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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