Serenity #9: Choosing Change

Serenity #9: Choosing Change (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: Serenity decides the best way to make Derek jealous is by dating other guys. But the date she arranges forces her to decide what she really wants in a relationship. Who knew trying to do the right thing could be so confusing? Then, Serenity and her pals film another mini-movie--this one a Biblical epic, "Esther, Queen of Persia." Whisked away to take part in a royal beauty contest, lovely young Esther realizes there may be a purpose and plan to life beyond what she can imagine.

Reviewer: UC Pseudonym | Contact | 5 October 2008

Despite the halved length, the eighth volume of Serenity covers a fair amount of ground. The previous volume’s issues are resolved, an entirely new development begins and ends, and then we have a good piece of the story of Esther. How well this is done is up for grabs.

I also have to note that I think the art has improved slightly. Either the artist is getting used to the simplified style or I am. However, I felt that a number of the expressions were a bit off, which is unfortunate given the subject matter.

This volume wraps up the angel story in a relatively low-key fashion. Having God intervene in this type of story is always a difficult move, as it feels fairly cheap in any story about doubt or hardship. Plus, it’s hard for people to criticize you without opening themselves up to a variety of comments. At least this experience isn’t life-changing and instead leads up to a relapse into worse behavior, which is quite realistic.

For a moment I was surprised when Tim and Eddie began arguing about baptism. They actually bring up issues like biblical literalism and for a moment I thought interesting territory would be covered, but it turns into a shouting match and that (rather edgy) line of thought is abandoned. Unfortunate but expected. At the end Serenity is left alone, which is sadly another common experience for young Christians.

As for the other major plot arc, involving Eddie’s background and his relationship with Serenity… here I tread on less certain ground. I really can’t comment on his fantasies around school and I have a difficult time articulating what feels off about the entire date scene. Though I disliked it overall, it didn’t commit any horrible offenses. It also fleshes out the cast, which is the meat of any series like this.

We also have an increase in the referential factor. There is a page that is reminiscent of the worst of comic book narration – not an unintelligent joke, but it didn’t work for me. Inuyasha also makes an appearance (plus we had a Naruto cameo in the last volume) so the anime factor is up. Lastly, I find the premise of a magazine entitled “Teen Xtians” interesting.

Meanwhile we have the story of Esther, drawn in a rather different style. Tim is flexing his genre muscle, I suppose. Interestingly, it just includes the first part, not the story of Haman, which is an unusual choice but may just be for the sake of space.

The main question for any telling of this story is how directly they’re going to address the sexual aspect. Serenity answers that question with a resounding mumble. On one hand, it seems to dance around the issue (and would Xerxes really have been “sigh, I suppose” about all of this?) but Esther’s speech in the palace addresses the issue more clearly. While it’s not a bad portrayal of this book of the Bible, it isn’t anything that hasn’t been done before. I also can’t help but think it would have been more symbolic if Eddie had been king, but it appears the two halves of the book are unconnected.

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