Writer: Faith Erin Hicks
Artist: Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
The Lumberjanes finally have their very own one-shot special! In Lumberjanes: Beyond Bay Leaf #1, the hardcore lady types are off on a late night walk in the woods with their counselor Jen. Of course, the Lumberjanes find themselves more drawn to the supernatural than what Jen has planned, and soon they find themselves encountering a monster in the woods.
This one-shot brings in a new creative team to the series, including artist newcomer Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. The creative team does a fine job and clearly has a good grasp on the characters. Faith Erin Hicks writes Ripley especially well in an issue that emphasizes the wildest Lumberjane. She is separated from the rest of the group for the majority of the issue as she uncovers a mystery surrounding an awful monster. Meanwhile, the rest of the Lumberjanes encounter an odd lady in the woods (Once again) and run into a mystery of their own. Eventually the all of the characters run into each other, leading to an exciting climax.
While all of the characters are well-written, this issue does at time feel like it’s lacking the usual spirit that the main series has. The issue is still wildly imaginative and funny, but it just doesn’t completely feel like a Lumberjanes book. Still, this is an enjoyable read and has a heartfelt ending that further develops Ripley and defines the friendship of the characters. That alone makes this title worth reading for all fans of series.
The art of this issue is certainly different than what the series is used to, but this isn’t a bad thing. The characters and backgrounds have a more animated look to them, with rounded faces and large eyes. The style is cute and definitely works with a few of the characters. The characters are as expressive as ever, and the final few panels are especially heartwarming due to the wonderful panels. The colors are vibrant, making the night setting both gorgeous and magical, using a simple palette that doesn’t do anything too outlandish.