Book Review – Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy #1

  • Title: Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy #1
  • Author: Chynna Clugston Flores
  • Artist: Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Maddi Gonzalez, Kelly & Nichole Matthews, Jenna Ayoub, Whitney Cogar, Warren Montgomery
  • Characters: Olive Silverlock, Maps
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Publisher: DC Comics, Boom Box Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 03/18/2017

Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy is a crossover between these two young adult graphic novels series. I’ve recently been reading and greatly enjoying Gotham Academy but I’m not familiar with Lumberjanes prior to reading this story. Gotham Academy is, of course, a slightly creepy private school in Gotham, that gives a second chance to reformed villains and gives a chance to be normal to the children of Gotham’s villains. Our characters remind me of a well-written Scooby Doo story – they solve mysteries that often have a supernatural bent. The Lumberjanes are a group of girls at summer camp who also solve mysteries. When Professor MacPherson goes missing from Gotham Academy under mysterious circumstances, and Rosie, the Lumberjanes camp director also disappears – it’s time for a crossover mystery.

The Lumberjanes and our familiar crew from Gotham Academy are soon working together to find their missing people. Soon Jen, the camp leader is also missing, sacrificing herself to “monsters” so the Janes and Academy students can get away.

The Janes and the Academy students work together to find and rescue their teacher, camp counselor, and camp director. Meanwhile, those three find themselves in a Brigadoon-type cabin, a mansion in the woods belonging to a spoiled rich girl and her family. Inside the cabin, it’s always 1986. The women, now looking and dressed like teenagers, slowly realize what’s happened. Louise had been friends with the girls at Gotham Academy – but when her family came in to money, she become a spoiled, self-centered brat – who nevertheless was at the top of the school’s social ladder. When Louise invites everyone to her Sweet 16 birthday party at her family’s cabin, the students decide to teach her a lesson – and no one shows-up. This breaks Louise – she suffers a breakdown. Her magic-practicing parents, place her under a spell – keeping her young, and experiencing the same Summer over and over again for 30-years (without the heartbreak of the disastrous party).

It’s like a ghost story, but with a living person. Not only do the current Gotham Academy students and Lumberjanes, but their counselor, teacher, and camp director must actually give Louise the party she wants and convince her to actually live her life without fear of change.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel – there’s a lot of humor and fun; the characters are bright and compassionate; the art is excellent and fits the feel of a teen book, and the mystery – though somewhat easy to figure out has a good point to it. It’s a story about being yourself, and I liked that. Highly recommended.

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Book Review – Doctor Who: The Stones of Venice

  • Title: The Stones of Venice
  • Series: Doctor Who Main Range (Eighth Doctor Mini-Series 1)
  • Author: Paul Magrs
  • Director: Gary Russell
  • Characters: Eighth Doctor, Charley
  • Cast: Paul McGann, India Fisher, Michael Sheard, Mark Gatiss
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 07/19/2017

**Spoiler Alert** Charley and the Doctor decide to take a nice relaxing vacation to get away from all the running down corridors and people trying to kill them, so the Doctor takes the TARDIS to Venice. However, this is a Venice about to sink under the sea. It’s a Venice under the control of a pompous, uncaring Duke, that is under a curse that would see the entire city destroyed due to an unhappy marriage, and the “death” of the Duchess – throw in a mysterious cult, amphibian gondoliers, and a curator of the royal museum and it’s not the vacation the Doctor and Charlie seek but more of a Busman’s Holiday.

The Doctor and Charlie arrive and discover the city is about to be destroyed and sink in to the sea. However, revelers are partying instead of trying to leave. The Doctor meets the Curator, who shows him part of the Royal Collection of art. The Doctor recognizes works of art that shouldn’t be in Venice, as they aren’t even from Earth. Meanwhile, Charlie meets a gondolier with webbed hands. She attempts to learn about the Gondoliers who are the underclass of Venice. However, she ends up in the clutches of a cult that worships the dead Lady Estella, wife to the Duke, whom they believe will rise from the dead to reverse the curse she set upon the city.

As the death of Venice approaches these elements come together. The Doctor and Charley meet up with first Charley impersonating the risen Estella, and then introducing the Doctor both to the plight of the Gondoliers and the Cult. The Doctor, meanwhile, starts to realize something more than a curse is going on.

He’s proven correct when Mrs. Lavish turns out to be Estella, and an alien, and in possession (well, once her jewels are returned) of very powerful objects that she used to cast the curse. The Duke, finally doing something heroic and for his people, takes the jewels and reverses the curse, though it costs himself and Estella their lives. Venice is saved and even the damage the city has already suffered is reversed.

Overall, this was a somewhat average Eighth Doctor story. It features Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor and India Fisher as Charley. It is a full-cast audio, with music, sound effects, and the cast performing their roles. Even though it’s a bit average, I enjoyed it. Recommended.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com

Click this link to order The Stones of Venice on Download only, for the current special price of $2.99.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!