Learning How To Conquer Fear In Lumberjanes #61

by James Ferguson

All of the Lumberjanes have their own fun traits that make them unique. Jo is super smart. April is strong and positive. Riley is….well…Riley. With all the adventures they go on and all the terrifying monsters they’ve faced, Mal feels she has to be a little braver. She seeks out Riley’s help for some bravery training which goes about as well as you’d expect.

After 60+ issues, Lumberjanes continues to evolve and change, keeping us on our toes. This issue is no different, taking a unique approach to the story. It opens with the Roanoke scouts on the run from a mysterious creature that we never actually see. Judging from their reactions, it’s the scariest thing in the world. Artist AnneMarie Rogers pumps up the tension here as the characters run for their lives.

It’s a pretty exciting scene as it starts out with Jo and Mal and all of the other scouts pop in as they continue to flee. It also shows the benefit of teamwork and friendship and the strength of the bond they all share. If they were out here alone, they might not survive, but it’s by working together that they get to safety.

Writers Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh use this harrowing opening sequence to spiral out into the two plot threads for this arc. The first deals with Mal overcoming her fears and the second has April searching for worthy wrestling opponent. I will never get tired of the hilarious antics these characters get themselves into.

This is also where the comic relief comes in as the scouts try to draw the monster they saw. Everyone has a different opinion about it, but they’re all pretty gruesome. How many spikes did it have? How big was the tail? Did it have that many teeth? Again, we haven’t seen this creature, nor do we even see their drawing of it, so your mind is racing as to what it could be. I’m sure we’re in for a nice surprise when it is eventually revealed.

Every so often we get a glimpse into the past of one of the characters. These moments help us further understand who they are. In Lumberjanes #61, we get that from Riley as she explains her methods of ridding Mal of her fears. This is totally silly, but quintessential Riley. Colorist Maarta Laiho differentiates these flashback scenes with a grey tone, contrasting well with the bright sun of the present day.

These sequences also further invest us with these characters. They have become real people over the course of the series and any additional tidbits about their lives only humanizes them even more. Letterer Aubrey Aiese helps this along too with dialogue shown in proper case. Instead of bolding words for emphasis, Aiese puts them in caps which works just as well, if not better. It feels more conversational this way, like you’re part of this group instead of watching from afar.

You never know what kind of adventure you’re going to get with Lumberjanes, but it always delivers tons of fun. The characters are natural and real and their antics are anything but. It’s impossible to read this book without a smile on your face.

Lumberjanes #61 from Boom! Studios is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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