Emma Trujillo ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy is a crossover series between Gotham Academy at DC Comics and Lumberjanes at publisher Boom! Studios. Gotham Academy is about the typically supernatural adventures faced by the school’s rag-tag Detective Club, while Lumberjanes centers on a Girl-Scoutian summer camp, where a misfit group of attendees fights monsters. The miniseries, published by Boom!, depicts Gotham Academy characters entering the world of Lumberjanes when their teacher is kidnapped. The Lumberjanes are also on the case, as their scout master is taken.
The first issue shows the groups finding out their mentors are missing, and deciding to go find them. The best moment is when April and Jo of the Lumberjanes stop the Detective Club, and April says, “Hey put out those glow sticks. You might start an illegal dance party. And I won’t techno for an answer.” This line quickly establishes the ridiculousness of the story. Jen, another Lumberjane, enters the scene in a frenzy and tries to stop the Gotham Academy group until floating skulls appear, trying to take them. The two groups quickly fall into action, while Olive Silverlock (of the Detective Club) and Jen get kidnapped.
With members of both groups missing, everyone becomes rather upset. The two assemblages clash at the Lumberjanes’ camp, leaving a section that feels crowded with characters as eight people try to figure out what to do; the Gotham Academy kids are accostumed to rushing in, while the Lumberjanes prefer to plan. The plan is formulated in a fun montage, and the comic shows what’s happening with Silverlock and Jen’s capture. The girls are stuck in what they think is 1986—and run into Rosie, the Lumberjanes’ scout leader, and Gotham Academy’s Professor Macpherson, who both look sixteen years old again.
Another of the issue’s highlights is when the Gotham Academy kids change out of their uniforms and raid the Lumberjanes’ closet. Gotham Academy student Kyle Mizoguchi says, “I’m not sure if I should grow a beard and make artisanal cheeses, or hop in a delorean and go find a crazy scientist,” after ending up in an orange bubble vest.
Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy #3 builds up the main conflict. Louise, whose sweet sixteen was ruined in 1986, attempts to recreate the event while the others perform their rescue mission. It is particularly hilarious when Pomeline Fritch is attacked by bats and says, “Bats. I hate these guys.Can’t go anywhere without a stupid bat following us around.” Then, the majority of the rescue team ends up getting captured, and are forced to join the “party.”
The fourth issue shows the characters somewhat enjoying the party as they chill poolside. Fritch tries to fight back, but gets taken away by the skull monsters. Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy then explains that Louise wanted a boy named Simon to ask her to be his girlfriend at the party. Mizoguchi (Gotham Academy student) and Ripley and Mal (Lumberjanes)—who have not been kidnapped—try to break into the house. Louise believes Mizoguchi is Simon, and lets them stay. The panel where the groups are reunited is a true stand-out. Mia “Maps” Mizoguchi hugs Kyle Mizoguchi, Molly and Mal kiss, and Jen bawls as Ripley hugs her legs. The group gets ready to throw a big party to make Louise happy, when Louise sees Silverlock and Kyle Mizoguchi flirting—and vows revenge.
In the penultimate issue, a massive battle breaks out as the kids fight against the skull monster protectors. Colton Rivera gains access to his fireworks during its climax, and launches them inside, defeating some of the monsters. The issue concludes with a fire burning behind Silverlock.
In the final issue, the kids beat the skull villains, but the age reversal spell does not break. They deduce that the only way to escape is to make sure that Louise has the best sweet sixteen ever. They work with the skull monsters to make sure the party is a blast, and learn that Louise’s parents placed her under a spell to permanently relive the summer after she got sick. The party ends and the groups can leave with Louise, returning to the Lumberjanes camp to say bittersweet goodbyes. The epilogue shows everyone staying in contact as penpals.
All in all, the series takes a while to find its groove, with #2 crowded by its many characters. There’s a loss of individuality for each character, making it hard to remember them all. This issue dissipates as the series becomes better at handling the characters, and spreading them out.
Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy hinges on its readers being fans of both Gotham Academy and Lumberjanes—as the characters do not get much story time on an individual basis. The plot is minute and ridiculous, just like the typical story lines of both books. However, in this series, the main story becomes stretched out and repetitive.
Still, it’s a fun read. There are silly jokes, and the story doesn’t even hint at taking itself seriously. The series is catering to a very particular audience. Overall, the book has some troubles, but can be found to be very enjoyable to fans of Lumberjanes and Gotham Academy.
Overall Grade: C+