Writers Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis have crafted, first and foremost, a fun book. The dialogue is witty and hilarious, with each of the five main ladies having a distinctive voice. The adventures themselves read like a child's imagination was spilled onto the page. That idea is beautifully supported by Brooke Allen's storybook style and the intense and bright colors of Maarta Laiho.
What I love most of all about this comic is the diversity present. No two women are alike in this comic featuring girls of different sizes, shapes, ethnicities, and orientations (and ladies with tattoos!). It sends the message that any and all are welcome in the Lumberjanes. Even better than that, the old idiom, “Don't judge a book by its cover,” is in full effect. Someone rather feminine could turn out to be the strongest of them all, and someone who dresses more rough and tumble still has fears. Stevenson and Ellis went out of their way to give each of the ladies a moment to shine and, more importantly, a chance to bond with their fellow Lumberjanes. While April, the pint-sized redhead with expressive eyes who you don't want to mess with, is my favorite Lumberjane, I have to acknowledge the awesomeness that is Mal and Molly's budding romance. LGBT characters in comics are rarely seen, never mind a well-handled lesbian relationship in an all-ages comic. Whenever I see the two of them be awkward and playful around one another, it warms my heart.
The trade repackages the first four issues of the series as a Lumberjanes field guide, complete with an issue intro about one of the Lumberjanes' badges that comes up during the course of the story, such as the Pungeon Master badge for great punmaking. It's a welcome addition to an already charming series. The trade also collects the many, many variant covers for the first four issues, all of which are gorgeous, and a sketchbook showing off the early designs of April, Mal, Molly, Ripley, and Jo. All in all, a trade you must adorn your comic shelf with.
Five Exclamations of “What the junk?!” out of Five