REVIEW: In Lumberjanes: End of Summer, All Good Things Must Come to an End

The lumberjanes embrace in a line, facning the woods - all except for blond-haire dMolly, who looks over her shoulder back at the audience. The woods are aflame with autumn colors

The final issue of the long-running Lumberjanes series brings readers closure in an extremely satisfying and emotionally effecting way. Prepare your tissues and your granny knots!

Lumberjanes: End of Summer #1 (of 1)

Aubrey Aiese (Letters): Brooklyn Allen (Layouts); Alexa Bosy (Art); Kanesha C. Bryant (Art); Maarta Laiho (Colors); Kat Leyh (Writer and Covers); Harriet Moulton (Cover); Tillie Walden (Cover); Sharon Watters (Writer)
Boom! Studios
December 2nd, 2020

A colorful alternate cover features beautiful symbols and the Lumberjanes, all of which are climbing

No time for tears, campers — this issue marks the final adventures of those hardcore lady types, the Lumberjanes. With series co-creator Sharon Watters returning to write the final installment, and rock-solid contributions from Kat Leyh, Alexa Bosy, and Kanesha C. Bryant, the series comes to a sweet-natured and properly adventurous conclusion.

When last we left the Lumberjanes, Molly had done the only thing she could do to prevent The Grey — a life-erasing wave of, well, greyness — from encroaching upon her friends and the camp. She used magic to become a Guardian of the Forest. An unfortunate side effect ends up turning her into a deer, and she sprints into the wilderness, leaving her friends behind, determined to finish things off for once and for all. They aren’t going to let Molly go it alone, though. Ripley makes a wish and summons The Kitten Holy, who flies Mal, Ripley, April, and Jo off to save Molly. Can they convince Molly to avoid harming The Grey and return to the camp for a final stand-off? And will Jen ever forgive herself for losing one of her campers?

Every Lumberjanes adventure is a special one, and the last is packed with callbacks, references to Greek mythology and urban legends, and the folks at the camp banding together in one powerful show of brains and brawn. The plot’s solution is ingenious. In the end, it’s their collective experience — the positive memories they share — which saves the day. For a series that’s always been about personal growth and embracing new experiences, this is a perfect conclusion.

This issue completes the process of Molly’s character growth from quiet and timid to a strong and bold leader. But she can’t do it alone, and the others help and surround her. It’s strongly implied that her relationship with Mal will continue, but that is left up in the air. As the issue itself says, time is a circle.

Panel art

If I have any complaints at all about the book, it’s that there’s too little Jo in the final issue. But everyone else gets a little bit of time — April must let go of her obsession with Getting All the Badges, for instance, and Jen must accept the fact that she doesn’t mind breaking the rules now and again.

Leyh and Watters, naturally, know these characters like the backs of their hands, and they know how to grant them the conclusion they all deserve. Bosy and Bryant’s art is wonderfully cartoony, with a fun sense of proportion and cartoony outlandishness, but they manage to enhance every sentimental moment as well, a feat that ought to be lauded. I can’t resist adding a comment about the lovely coloring work of Laiho, whose colors manage to make the moody shades of nighttime and the stark horror of The Grey pop.

For Lumberjanes fans, End of Summer is going to be a must-read no matter what this review says about it – but isn’t it nice to know it’s a beautiful adventure with an important message about growth, friendship, and the preservation of nature?