I’ve gotten a little behind with this series, but I’m finally going back to Lumberjanes with Volume 12. There’s some continuity back, with the previous volume which I had to go look up for reference since it has been that long. April has started what is essentially a bestiary of all the various creatures encountered in the forest that’s quite detailed, except that the page for “The Voice”, the ominous mysterious presence that caused some trouble in volume 11 remains blank save for the heading. For once the girls are a bit shaken by their experiences and Counselor Jen decides to cheer them up by organizing a jackelope discovery expedition. The second interwoven plot thread introduces yet another random wanderer of the area, Maria (full given name longer, so I’m abbreviating with just the first one) who travels with a small menagerie of creatures she’s met. She’s on a mission to find her father who was swallowed by a tornado. They all go off to find the jackalope and Maria’s dad. By the end of the volume, about 1 ½ of the 2 missions are complete. Back at camp, the camp paper has been revived, some issues develop around the writer of the horoscopes being too accurate and there may be a curse and mythological descendant involved.
The story for once does not really have a lesson on friendship or some such which in a way is a welcome change, but the series does need to get back to a more coherent narrative basis, instead of introducing random characters and situations that are likely never to be seen after the end of the volume. I like Maria and how her story seems to resolve, and it’s also a fun little twist that Jen intentionally instigates an adventure for once. But I’m wondering about some of the unresolved things brought up by earlier volumes, and I’m hoping The Voice doesn’t get dropped in favor of something else.
My other complaint is with the general style. The original artists left the series a while ago, and I know this is common for longer running series’. My issue is that the rounded characters, especially their faces, lack any kind of visual personality. There’s so little detail in the expressions in their faces and movements in the current style, and that’s a shame. Personality is a big part of what made the early volumes so much fun.