Serenity #7: Space Cadet vs Drama Queen

Serenity #7: Space Cadet vs Drama Queen (2007)
by Realbuzz Studios | Thomas Nelson
96 Pages - Full Color [ Youth / Youth Interest / Teen Fiction ]

Story and Creation - Buzz Dixon
Art - Min Kwon
Original Character Designs - Drigz Abrot

Publisher summary: It's Life! Camera! Action! for Serenity and her pals when they set out to film their own sci-fi movie. “Space Cadet vs. Drama Queen” features two stories--the continuation of Serenity's adventures plus a bonus "movie" story that Serenity and her friends have filmed, "Terror from the Tarantula Nebula"--a high-adventure thriller complete with aliens, a mysterious princess, and one scary spider.
Ever the diva, Serenity steals the scene as she tussles with her friends and feuds with her mom. Can the gang hold it together long enough for the movie to wrap, or will they put Serenity on the first spaceship outta here?

Reviewer: UC Pseudonym | Contact | 27 July 2008

With this review we finally return to Serenity, the series that started this business. I could wax philosophic about the cycle of life, or get melodramatic in order to undercut myself stereotypically, but let’s move directly to the new volume, shall we?

Though the series now has a new publisher, new covers, and a new format, it remains fundamentally the same. Those interested may want to look at volume seven to note the changes, but they are unlikely to alter anyone’s opinion about the series as a whole. Most notably, the books are now divided into two parts: the first continues the story of the other volumes and the second is the plot of a movie produced by the main characters. Curiously, this latter is the longer portion. This mechanic is introduced in this volume, so there are some interwove elements, but these are not included in future volumes.

The art seems to have undergone a shift as well. Most obviously, the covers include giant floating heads, but I’m sure Ann will have plenty to say about how bad of an idea this is. Within the volume, things have a simplified look that takes some getting used to – backgrounds are pretty sparse and some of the characters (particularly Sally) look much younger than they are meant to be.

As I mentioned, the tone, intent, and writing of this volume is much the same as the rest of the series. It is light, quickly-paced and quickly-plotted, and meant to be a blend of drama and humor. Overall the jokes could have been a lot worse, though they get off to a bad start with a forced quip from Kimberly.

Characters also continue to speak in a “hip, contemporary way.” Normally I wouldn’t even need to comment about that, but I think “what-EH-vah” is the new “dawgz.” I have also never heard someone use the phrase “honked off” – which I’d contend probably implies something different, but I won’t quibble. At least the “slang” isn’t placed in “quotation marks.” More seriously, there are quite a few pieces of text that are not in bubbles, which I think makes it less intuitive to read against the darker backgrounds.

Each volume covered relatively little before, but they cover less now due to the dual-story format. Characters play their roles, the movie is introduced… and that’s about it. The worst part of this is how choppy Tim’s anger and return feel, but we’ll have to see how these shorter segments work overall.

As for the character film, the majority of the volume, the major development in the series… I’m not sure what to say. It’s a knock-off of the original Star Trek, a sendup and a tribute in so many ways that it leaves me with few comments. Everything about it fails in the same ways that the original series did, but one has to assume that’s intentional as a part of the overall storytelling. They do the red shirt joke, like everyone else, but it’s actually more subtle than has been done overall.

So Serenity is back. There are three other volumes in this new run that I’ll review once new or less-reviewed series have been addressed. Whether the changes to the series will make it any more successful or alter the overall story that it means to tell remains to be seen.

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