The Lumberjanes Find True North in The Infernal Compass

Noelle Stevenson, Boom! Studios, 2014, Lumberjanes #4

Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass

Lilah Sturges (writing); Polterink (art); Jim Campbell (letters); Cover Art: Alexa Sharpe
Boom! Studios
October 17, 2018

What the Rosalind Franklin?! The Lumberjanes is what, and they’re embarking on their first hard-cover adventure with a story about possessed compasses!

Jen, in her never-ending quest to send the campers on healthy, safe, outdoor activities runs afoul of adventure once again. She sends Mal, Molly, Jo, April, and Ripley on a quest for the Mappy Go Lucky Badge, which will require them to go on an orienteering hike, sending them all down a forest path with topographical maps and compasses with paper lanterns tied to trees serving as guides. She begs them not to cause any rabble rousing, but it’s the Lumberjanes, so you know mischief is gonna be afoot.

That mischief ends up involving said glowing, malfunctioning compass, which won’t work for any of the campers as it bounces between Jen, Molly, and Ripley’s hands. It also involves a disappeared April, and a squad of polite robot butlers who want the Lumberjanes to stay with them—FOREVER, if necessary—while their mistress reclaims what’s rightfully hers. Elsewhere, Mal and Molly’s relationship is portmanteau’d with a smush name by April and Mal gets very into it, to Molly’s embarrassment. The two of them try to carve out a balance of privacy and public affection, while trying to find their lost friends.

Who is the butlers’ mistress, and will Mal and Molly find our group of intrepid campers? I’ll leave that up to the reader to discover. To reveal too much of what happens would deprive people of the joy of experiencing the book firsthand, and like every single Lumberjanes story out there, this is a delightful all-ages must read.

Lumberjanes is one of the rare comics that’s never, ever disappointed me. The art is adorably on-model, and decorated with pale green inks that make one feels as if they’ve discovered an ancient tome in the forest. From responsible Jen to wild Ripley, to overenthusiastic April and tough Jo, and the continuing love story between Mal and Molly, I always come away from a fresh issue with a smile on my face. At heart, the story reminds young readers that talking out conflict is better than letting it fester, and maintaining friendships is better than isolating oneself and not experiencing life. As an introvert, and even as an adult, it’s a reminder that one will keep growing as they age.

This is another wonderful showcase for Molly. With every issue, she keeps developing more courage and ever-increasing leadership abilities. There’s a lot of fun in seeing how her shyness is changing, although it’s definitely not going away. The robots’ mistress is one of the best one-shot characters the comic’s seen in ages. But nothing in this issue is funnier than watching Ripley resentfully eat crumpets while bound to a chair by shoving herself face-first into the plate; if that mental image made you giggle, then you’re surely bound for a delight with this new story.

The volume closes out with a full-color adventure from the first Lumberjanes arc (“Beware the Kitten Holy,” drawn by Noelle Stevenson and written by Shannon Watters, with inks by Grace Ellis and colors by Brooklyn Allen) and a full behind-the-scenes tour featuring lots of test sketches. Readers who might already have the first arc will likely be disappointed with this forty-page addition, but it’s a fine hook to addict new readers to the adventures of the gang from Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistlecrumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. The Infernal Compass itself is worth the price of admission.


Lilah Sturges is currently touring to promote Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass.  Check below for locations, cities, dates and times!:

Saturday, November 24th, Houston, TX: 1:00-3:00pm at Brazos Bookstore

Sunday, November 25th, Los Angeles, CA: 5:00-7:00pm at Chevalier’s Bookstore

Monday, November 26th, Los Angeles, CA: 5:00-7:00pm at East County LA Public Library

Wednesday, November 28th, Portland OR: 5:00-6:00pm at Books With Pictures

Thursday, November 29th, Seattle, WA: 6:00-8:00pm at Outsiders Comics & Geek Boutique

Friday, November 30th, Minneapolis, MN: 7:00-8:30pm at Barnes & Noble Minneapolis

Saturday, December 1st, Chicago, IL: 4:00-6:00pm at Challengers Comics + Conversation