The good: returning to a main storyline about trying to figure out the supernatural goings-on at summer camp. I was feeling let down by the last volume, because of its use of a series of short stories that had little direct connection to the main storyline. Now we’re back to the unusual happenings and trying to figure out what they all mean. It also worked to re-arrange the team for a little while, with Molly and Ripley working on one part of the problem in one place, and the rest of the gang working on the other end. The introduction of a new counselor, Seafaring’ Karen, with a secret was fun, and the girls got to earn a new badge while they were at it (knot-tying of course).
The bad (not bad so much as less awesome than before): changes in the artwork and indications of starting to favor one or two characters as mains. I am starting to wonder about the focus on the lake in recent stories: first the mermaids and the rock-bands, then selkies and a stolen coat. The stuff in the woods of earlier volumes was pretty good; where’d that go? I’m also noticing that individual volumes are starting to pick one or two girls to concentrate on, and not watch the group as a whole. This one has a little of the group at the beginning, but it’s mostly about the two teams they split into. While this can work for individual character development (it’s Molly’s turn in the this one), it also gets in the way of the ensemble entertainment that was what I liked about the early volumes. It also saddens me a little hat Noelle Stevenson seems to be not working on the series much anymore; her artwork is another thing I really liked about the earlier volumes. The more angular versions of the characters make them more distinctive, and the later curvier versions seem girlier and less ‘lumber’.
The Lumeberjane: first, Ripley is still Ripley. While she’s the most consistently entertaining of the group, I do wish there was a little more complexity or interest for her character. I also wonder why Joe seems to be getting sidelined so much of late; in a story about girl-power, I fail to see why leaving the smart one to the side serves your purpose. Mal and Molly finally clarify who they are to each other (not a surprise really, but it was nice to finally see the direct addressing of the two together), Bear Woman returns with some interesting information about the world of the camp – and the not so subtle hints about Molly in the future are intriguing-, there’s a werewolf with a problem to help, April’s Beastiary (although it bugs me slightly it gets referred to as scrap-book and journal; a bestiary is a very old genre after all that deserves a little more respect) comes in handy, and there’s a reference to the subtitle of volume 1 which may be one of the best gags of all time.
Overall: 3.5 rounded up.