Young girl drama is nothing new to artist and writer Chynna Clugston-Major, whose other works include Blue Monday and Scooter Girl, she puts even more of a twist on Queen Bee, for it focuses even more on the school setting than it does on the psychic powers of the series' two leading ladies, Haley Madison and Alexa Harmon.
Schoolyard bullies, adolescent crushes, talent shows, cliques, and girls lusting after popularity are all present, as well as mandatory scenes with kids grumbling about homework. The story focuses on former class loser Haley, who has just moved to JFK Intermediate, has set her mind on being the most well-known kid in the school to clear her name--by joining the Hive, the most popular group of girls there and, unbeknownst to Haley, also the most venomous backstabbers there are. But controlling her psychokinesis, the power to move objects with her mind, is part of the challenge she faces, and that lack of control is exactly what made her hated and avoided at her old school.
For what content she can get away with in a story aimed at tweens, Clugston perfectly renders just how nasty seventh graders can be. Once Haley gets into the Hive, her new posse of supposed friends are revealed to be selfish brats that thrive on getting designer clothing before everyone else and making the unpopular kids suffer. When a new girl named Alexa comes who also has psychokinesis and threatens to overthrow Haley's popularity, which triggers an unpleasant and unfair feud between the two. Eventually, the only way to settle the rivalry between them is for Haley to beat Alexa at the upcoming "A-Mer-I-Can Dream" schoolwide talent competition. Teaming up with newfound friend and stellar drummer Jasper Reines, Haley manages to dethrone Alexa and decides to cut her ties to the Hive, starting down a new path with a group of nicer (albeit less trendy) girlfriends.
Chynna Clugston's art style is definitely a highlight of this story; with thick ink illustrations and wide, over-the-top facial expressions that give more than a nod to many Japanese manga publications. While there may little to no substance for male readers here, Queen Bee is shaping up to be a promising series that will no doubt pique the interest of many shojo/magical girl fans, as well as those who are already readers of Chynna Clugston's other graphic novels. I highly await the arrival of the next volume.