Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy #1 Review
Script: Chyna Clugston Flores
Pencils: Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Inks: Madi Gonzales
Colors: Whitney Cogar
Letters: Warren Montgomery
Going into Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy, I was only vaguely familiar with the two properties. It meant that I had no preconceptions about what to expect, but it also meant that there was a good chance that I would be completely lost. Thankfully, the story by Chynna Clugston Flores was clear enough that it wasn’t necessary to know everybody to get immediately drawn into the book.
The excellent story starts with a simple MacGuffin to bring both groups together. On the Lumberjanes side, one of their members, Rosie, sends a distress flair into the air indicating that she needs help. Meanwhile at Gotham Academy, Professor Macpherson has gone missing and the only clue is a postcard from 1986 that has an address way up in the mountains near the area where Lumberjanes is located. This being comics, the kids take it upon themselves to go find Professor Macpherson. Though it should be noted it is explained well in the issue why no one considers alerting the proper authorities. Once the Gotham Academy kids are in the mountains, they run into the Lumberjanes as Rosie’s flair came from the same area that the postcard indicates. This is where the issue really starts to pick up, and it won’t be spoiled.
The impressive thing about the crossover is that it grabs the reader immediately. Familiarity with the characters isn’t necessary to get the reader drawn in because the stakes are immediately set out. The Gotham Academy parts are all really fun as you get to see the kids sneak out of school and comment about how much trouble they will be in if they’re caught (which seems like an inevitability). The parts where it’s just the Lumberjanes are great too. You get the sense of comradery that the girls have for each other as they decide that they must help out their friend no matter what. Where it really shines is at the end. The first meeting is fun, and as it goes to the climax of the issue the pace picks up. There’s no way to put the issue down as you read it.
The artwork is perfect for the story Flores is trying to tell. The characters are all so expressive that without reading a single word of dialogue the reader has a good idea of what is going on. The colours are bright even when its dark, so even though the characters can be in danger it also shows that the book is a fun book. The best part though is the storytelling. The reader should always know instinctively where to look for the next panel based on what happened in the previous one. While using some unusual layouts for the issue Rosemary Valero-O’Connell never loses sight of this fact which means the reader gets some extra joy out of it.
Buy It! Jumping into a crossover comic between two books that you’re not that aware of is always difficult, but can be rewarding. The goal of every issue should be to capture new readers, and Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy does just that. It’s a great introduction to both books for any new reader and stands on its own. If you weren’t regularly picking up either Lumberjanes or Gotham Academy before reading this book, you’ll likely want to after.
Excited for this book? We’ve also done an interview with Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy writer Chyna Clugston Flores! Check it out here!