The Lumberjanes are back together again, but now they’re all trapped in the Land of Lost Things. Mal’s been trapped there for a few days and she’s anxious to get home. The other ‘Janes don’t share this anxiety because they want to explore this pocket dimension, especially since it’s changed so much since the last time they were here. Snow is everywhere. Ripley’s velociraptor friend is now covered in feathers. There’s a lot to unpack here.
The argument between Mal and her friends is a constant in Lumberjanes #63. As bad as I feel for Mal, I, of course, want to see what kind of adventures and mischief these kids get into. Artist AnneMarie Rogers captures this grumpy look of frustration on Mal’s face perfectly. She’s not really angry. Instead it’s more she can’t believe she has to justify herself when she says she wants to go home. Mal has been stuck here by herself for a bit so that’s perfectly understandable.
This change in weather in the Land of Lost Things is a clever way to have winter adventures at a summer camp. Writers Shannon Watters & Kat Leyh weave this into the story in a way that just makes sense. I realize that might sound strange since I just talked about pocket dimensions and dinosaurs, but that’s the kind of wonderful unpredictability you get with Lumberjanes. Anything can and will happen.
The truth is, regardless of the setting, Lumberjanes is always a fun read because of the characters and their interactions. They have this great mesh of personalities that keep the group balanced as a whole. This is definitely on display with this issue with Mal playing the role of the pragmatic “grown-up” while Ripley is…well…Ripley. She gets carried away, literally in this case, in the excitement of something new. You can’t help but get caught up in that feeling, wondering what is waiting for them around each corner.
The reality of these crazy antics occasionally dawns on the ‘Janes. There’s a fantastic sequence where they are riding on a sled tied to a dinosaur, rocketing down a steep, snow covered hill. For a brief moment, they take in how fun this is and then the terror of this dawns on them. That’s when their facial expressions change to worry in this hilarious way.
Mal’s frustration can be felt in not just her appearance, but her speech as well. Letterer Aubrey Aiese gives Mal a range from a quiet discontent to outright screaming at the top of her lungs that this is a bad idea. This helps pace the action in Lumberjanes #63 too. You can judge how intense a scene is based on how large Mal’s words are.
This snow-covered landscape is full of possibilities with adventure waiting around every turn, but it does come across as a very desolate area. Colorist Maarta Laiho creates a somber tone that contrasts with the usual lush setting of the woods and campgrounds. The ‘Janes break up the whites and light blues with their colorful clothing. It’s like they’re the first signs of life this world has seen in some time.
While the Lumberjanes are always looking for adventure and new things, they also do what’s right and help people. They’ve had their fun and now their attention turns to the dangers within the Land of Lost Things. Something has happened to this world that has had a devastating effect and they’re just the ones to fix it. This is such a great attitude for not just kids, but everyone.