Written By Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh
Art by Carolyn Nowak & Maarta Laiho
Published by BOOM! Studios
Release Date: October 21, 2015

So, I need someone to write The Mermaid Lemonade Stand Mysteries (a mini-series maybe?!).

April’s enthusiasm, empathy, and curiosity are guiding forces in issue #19 as she endeavors to help the merpeople with their music and intermerpersonal issues. Ripley, on the other hand, is hoping to get back to the Bandicoot Bacchanal and is patiently waiting to get her dress done as April cavorts with the merpeople and does a sound check. However, her desire to help leads to her unwittingly making an underwater roll call for sea serpents, creating a tidal wave of a problem for next issue.

This issue of Lumberjanes captures the raucous sense of adventure that drives the girls. April’s personality shines, and Jo gives us a little bit of context for April’s personality, highlighting that sometimes she is someone who learns from innocent or careless mistakes. It was great to see such a lighthearted issue that showcases part of the essence of the Lumberjanes.

The story doesn’t move forward as much as previous issues. Still, Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh write a lot of hidden gems that I think their writing team uncovers through this issue. Merpeople culture is so well thought out and subversive (catch the pun?), reminiscent of many of our own counter-culture movements. Watters and Leyh also write some awesome dynamics between our main characters, but also the merpeople, who have a role beyond just being auxiliary characters.

Carolyn Nowak and Maarta Laiho on art are such a wonderful team. They so effortlessly portray the sense of adventure, joy, and diversity of the Lumberjanes world. Their images perfectly fit with how I see the tone of the series. While they handle some very real and serious issues, they are also essentially traipsing through the woods, or lake in this issue, and encountering mystical and extraordinary things but seeing them as everyday. I love the exaggerated expressions throughout the issue because they give such a lively touch to the overall story.

I seriously almost CANNOT get over the Ida B. Wells exclamation from Jen. The reference to such an important woman in terms of Black history, women’s rights, and intersections was wonderful. This moment reminds me of part of my experience being Black and hearing such colorful exclamations, particularly from religious contexts, within my family. Invoking Ida was a pretty magical moment and I loved seeing it in this issue.

Ripley may have been my favorite part of this issue. She was adorable! When I first encountered her, she was rambunctious, active, spunky, and curious. Seeing her looking forward to the Bandicoot Bacchanal showed that she is multifaceted and sometimes adventure isn’t the only thing on her mind. I think Ripley saw some major development, even if it was part of the backdrop of the main story.

The Verdict: 8.5/10


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