Serenity #10: Girl Overboard

Serenity #10: Girl Overboard (2008)
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 makeover time as Serenity sets out to do a radical overhaul on her closet--and her image. But major changes in her hair, her clothes, and her attitude just leave her feeling all wrong. Can she find her own voice--and the right hair color--before she loses herself completely? Then, in a mini-movie that harkens back to the horror films of the 1930s, Serenity and her friends create "Fraulein Stein's Monster." When a mad scientist becomes obsessed, will the monster soon be the master?

Reviewer: UC Pseudonym | Contact | 19 October 2008

If you’re like me, you knew from an interview some time ago that Serenity was going to become a Christian in volume ten. That doesn’t seem unrealistic given where volume nine left things, but how it is addressed is unusual. Then again, if you’re like me you have a lot more significant reasons for concern than anything to do with Serenity.

You’d think this volume would include some extremely significant events, but it doesn’t. That’s right, things begin with informing the reader that Serenity’s baptism has just been skipped. Apparently her church doesn’t tie baptism to formal membership or require any kind of study/reflection course, but that would reflect the evangelical roots of the writer.

Instead, most of the pages are devoted to Serenity’s abrupt change into a demur and passive Christian. While I’ve seen some people go to extremes, this change doesn’t feel as realistic to me. Ultimately it leads to a good message concerning the nature of the Christian life (and an unfortunate chipper “be yourself” message, but that was probably inevitable). Basically, once you see the new Serenity you know exactly how the entire rest of the volume is going to progress.

Parallel to this, Kimberly decides to do the opposite thing in order to keep Derek from being attracted to Serenity (oh, hey, remember that plot line?). This is another aspect that I don’t feel works as well, though Kimberly is obviously the sort of child who could easily have a rebellious phase. Her father’s lack of comment on this during the mall scene is one of the more subtle pieces of characterization we’ve seen so far (not so with a certain strawwomayn who makes another appearance).

All of this feels very rushed, making it painfully clear just how little space is in each of these volumes. Though Serenity has always had fast plotting, even an entire volume could have dealt with this change more normally. It also begs the question – what is Serenity’s natural hair color? Unless she died it both ways (in which case she can’t have “stopped” dying it) we’re left with the question of how the abrupt changes work.

The character film portion of this volume is the first one that was actually of interest. It does stand on its own and has a healthier sense for how much can be accomplished in a limited amount of space. But strangely, I have relatively little to say about the story that is presented.

Normally the page at the end of the volume wouldn’t need a comment, but this one includes an off-hand reference to Eddie. It felt a bit unrealistic to me, especially given how uptight he was about his various issues in the beginning. Most guys don’t go around being that transparent, so I worry that his character might be typecast as the source of cheap laughs in the future.

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