Lumberjanes Series Overview

lumberjanesA summer camp for “hard-core lady types”, filled with bear-women, dinosaurs, alternate time dimensions, and a whole lot more crazy supernatural stuff, is the setting of Lumberjanes. Lumberjanes is a graphic novel series created by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen. Lumberjanes is chaotic and full of the unexpected, and it’s great. It follows five best friends, April, Molly, Mal, Jo, and Ripley, during their time at summer camp, which is way more magical (literally) then they ever could have expected. And for the most part, they just roll with it, which makes for some great adventures.

The characters, both main and supporting, are diverse and well rounded. There is a lot of representation going on in these comics, which is great, especially for an all ages comic. One area of representation that I was very pleased to see was LGBT+ because it’s largely absent from most all ages/kids media.

The supernatural aspect of the story is really enjoyable. It’s a bit random and not always super explained, but it’s always really fun and just seems to work. You never know what kind of supernatural antics will occur, but whatever they are, you know they will be enjoyable, even if they don’t totally make sense.

One thing that I think is a really nice touch is the way they work the Lumberjanes earning badges into the story. For each story arc (which lasts a few comics each), there is a page at the begging detailing a badge they are working on. The story somehow ties into that. It’s an interesting take on the idea of scouts earning badges because with the Lumberjanes, the requirements for getting a badge are never as straight forward as it seems.

Being a comic series, the art is an important aspect. And honestly, I have mixed feelings about this. Their isn’t a constant artist/style for the series, and while I’ve never read an issue where the art was bad, there have been some that just didn’t feel like Lumberjanes to me. Sometimes the art is fairly realistic, sometimes it’s more stylized, so it’s really a matter of personal preference whether or not  you like the art in a specific issue. Overall though even when I’m not  a fan of the art I still love reading the comics because the story and the characters are always great.

Lumberjanes has been around for a little while now, there are currently 33 issues of the main series comic, with the 34th being released later this month, as well as a spin off series and some one-offs. This may be a bit overwhelming for some new readers, but as far as comics go it’s not really all that much, plus it would be pretty great to be able to read that many back to back without having to wait.

Overall Lumberjanes is a really fun read that’s doing some great things in terms of representation and overall is something I highly recommend.

-Angela J.

Movie Review: Ant-Man

antmanI’m going to be honest, I’m a pretty big fan of superhero movies. Unfortunately, I wasn’t blown away by Avengers: Age of Ultron, but I was intrigued as to what Marvel would do with Ant-Man, a hero whom I never even heard of and whose name makes me laugh every time I see it. It’s safe to say they’ve surprised me again.

Ant-Man is directed by Peyton Reed and stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, and Evangeline Lilly as Hope Pym. It’s an action comedy set in present day United States. Hank Pym was a scientist who became the original Ant-Man after creating a substance that could shrink him down in size. Darren Cross, his former apprentice, wants to steal it to create his own super weapon. Hank asks help from Scott Lang, a former thief and divorced father failing at making a living.

What you’ll notice right away is just how humorous the movie really is. This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, since Marvel is known for their witty dialogue and new age comedy. However, this movie takes it a step further by having actual comedic actors, like Michael Pena, play large roles. This amount of comedy may seem unnecessary, but I felt it really added to the tone of the movie and situation very well. It still maintains enough seriousness to make you understand the weight of the situation, though I’m glad the director didn’t try to make it dark and brooding. After all, this is a movie about a guy who shrinks and controls ants, right?

The movie paces itself quite well, introducing and setting up the main characters in a short time, explaining back stories and character relationships within the earlier points in the movie. It has action sequences throughout, and has a spectacular finale. It also much more emotional depth than you’d expect from a movie like this, but it serves the story well. The entire scope of the movie is very small compared to Marvel’s more recent film, Age of Ultron, and that’s very good because it lets you explore the characters more and it, again, works for this hero.

Overall, Ant-Man is a fun, humorous, action-packed summer blockbuster that anyone can enjoy. Whether you’re a superhero fan, an action fan, comedy fan, or just a fan of movies in general, you will most likely enjoy this film.

Ahmed H., 11th grade