In volume four, Out of Time, the Lumberjanes once again are faced with supernatural forces but the real challenge comes from within. Jealousy and refusal to stand up for a friend can be devastating to friendships. In this collection of comics, Lumberjanes young and old grapple with the motto “Friendship to the Max”.
What starts as an innocent camping trip with their long suffering councilor Jen, turns into a rescue mission when a blizzard mysteriously blankets the area. Separated from her girls, Jen is injured and knocked unconscious, waking she finds herself in the home of Abigail, former Lumberjane and obsessed huntress of supernatural creatures. Through conversation with Jen and Abigail, we learn a bit about enigmatic camp director Rosie and the incident that has set Abigail on her current path, to wipe out all supernatural creatures in the forest. Mistakes of the past have come to cause trouble in the present.
Despite the freak weather conditions, April, Jo, Mal, Molly, and Ripley set out to find Jen, “Lumberjanes stick together”. While the ladies have been kick butt in dealing with the supernatural forces they find themselves regularly facing they now find themselves lacking in practical wilderness survival skills. Turned around they cross onto Scouting Lad property and run into Barney, who happens to be particularly skilled in the outdoors. From tracking to building snow shelters he always has a solution and know how to back it up. This rubs Jo the wrong way and lights the fires of jealousy. Perceiving Barney as trying to insert himself into the group, Jo bristles at his every attempt to help, and causes friction with her long time friend April as a result. In confronting and admitting her jealousy, Jo says that she once could have been a Scouting Lad and reveals in a simple way that she is transgender. Jo explains she found herself, and where she belongs, when she joined the Lumberjanes.
Having several transgender friends, I really love the simple way of Jo coming out to Barney. Especially as she used it as a way to help give Barney perspective for himself as he doesn’t know where he belongs. A lesbian relationship, a transgender girl, questioning of identity, and multiple and mixed ethnicities, Lumberjanes is wonderfully inclusive and I adore that this is an all ages comic.