Lumberjanes #6 opens with our quintet of girls in the heat of a vicious, important battle. A battle that determines the strength of character and loyalty. Capture the Flag is not a game for wimpy babies. It’s a game for a camp of kick-butt, outdoor lady-types like the Lumberjanes.
While this issue doesn’t contain any of the usual supernatural woodland beings, it is still one of my favorite issues to date because of the development of some key characters and encouragement of rare themes.
Jen, the Roanoke Cabin’s counselor, is responsible for the five unruly, adventure-hungry girls. She does her very best to keep the girls safe. “Safe” translates to “boring” in Roanoke Cabin. The girls always manage to create a diversion for Jen so they can go on their dangerous escapades. Despite how much Jen yells at the five girls, she truly does care about their wellbeing. She wants to be the leader that they need. At the beginning of this issue, Jen laments her lameness to Rosie, who suggests she take up karate in an attempt to be strong, brave and on the offhand chance she needs to possibly punch a bear. However, she decides to join the heat of battle and at the end of the issue Jen really embraces what it means to be a lady of the Roanoke Cabin.
The other girls that make strides in development are Jo and Diane. Diane was a minor character that was introduced in the previous issue and was too cool to make friendship bracelets. Diane is also too cool to play Capture The Flag, at least, until she can cheat and play on her own terms. Diane seems to be evolving into a pivotal character – but it’s not clear how she’ll be affecting the mystery the girls are trying to solve. Is Diane a cheater at Capture the Flag, or something so much more?
Lastly, Jo is also becoming a focal character in the series. Even amongst four other strong cabin members, Jo is beginning to truly stand out. Things are happening to her that she doesn’t understand – which feeds her anxiety, irritation and uncertainty. However, this is there reason why I loved this issue so much: even if there’s something strange going on with Jo, the other girls will always still love and accept her.
Each girl has very unique personalities from the others. They are so different, yet they stick together like family. These themes of love and acceptance are so very welcome as a reader. In too many other comics women are petty, jealous, hateful and unsupportive toward each other. It’s refreshing to see five fierce girls back each other – not despite their differences, but because of them.
Molly is quiet and observant of the world around her. April is loving and loyal. Ripley is a loud ball of footloose energy that is interested in trying everything. Mal is brave, strong and compassionate. Jo is extremely intelligent and always strives to learn more. These characteristics are all so different. The one thing they have in common? A love for each other. To quote the Lumberjane pledge, “I solemnly swear to do my best every day and in all that I do. To be brave and strong, to be truthful and compassionate… to always help and protect my friends.”
Ripley is dramatically captured and Jo falls after her. The remaining girls concoct a plan to rescue their beloved friends and win the game, using a trick they kept up their sleeve (or on Molly’s head). This game of Capture the Flag is a beautiful way to illustrate the uncommon motifs of friendship and loyalty among women. Lumberjanes #6 is exhilarating, magical and slightly silly – much like friendship.