Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Do you wear hooded sweat shirts in the middle of summer? Do you spend a ridiculous amount of time hanging out at a local coffee shop each day? Do you call comic books graphic novels? Is one of your favorite movies Evil Dead 2? Is your cable box permanently stuck on the IFC station? Do you judge people solely on the bands listed on their iPods? Do you own an iPod? If your answer is yes to all of the above, I’m sorry to tell you this…but you might be a hipster. But don’t worry. It isn’t terminal, so please pull that shotgun out of your mouth. Being a hipster isn’t too bad, as long as you can get past the funny facial hair and ironic t-shirts. One of the many benefits of being a member of this new breed of geek is your ability to understand and enjoy Bryan Lee O’Malley’s seven book Scott Pilgrim series.
In the second volume of the Scott Pilgrim saga, our hero is forced by his gay roommate, Wallace Wells, to finally make a decision between his two girls he has been dating. On one hand there is Knives Chau, an innocent Chinese schoolgirl who idolizes Scott despite his flaws. On the other hand, there also lies the generally mysterious Ramona Flowers who’s complicated relationship history is the focus of the series. With Ramona, Scott feels as if he’s actually growing up and moving forward with his life. But as Scott deals with this personal dilemma, he is forced to “train” (spending hours playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater for the Playstation) as a means of preparation for his next battle with Ramona’s second evil ex boyfriend. This one just happens to be Lucas Lee, a former skateboarder turned movie star. Like the first volume, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is packed with hilarious dialogue and equally hilarious action scenes. But with the start of this book, Bryan Lee O’Malley adds something a bit surprising in this bizarre coming of age story.
This book opens with a touching flashback sequence that reveals that Scott and one of his band mates from Sex Bob-Omb were once more than friends. Back in high school, Scott was forced to due battle with the entire student body of Benvie Tech High School in order to win the heart of a young Kimberly Pine. In a series of bittersweet black and white panels, O’Malley perfectly captures what it’s like to be a teenager in love. With this emotional opening alone, the characters from the Scott Pilgrim universe begin to move away from being simple one dimensional joke machines. Despite all of the wacky humor and unbelievable fight scenes, there’s a tremendous amount of heart found in these digest sized graphic novels.
On an artistic standpoint, Bryan Lee O’Malley improves upon his unique drawing style. Making it significantly easier for the readers to determine which characters are which. Another improvement is the proper balance of fantasy and reality. As hilarious as the ending of Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Life was, it did leave some readers in a confused stupor. The level of ridiculousness is scattered throughout the book evenly, giving this volume a more balanced tone. If this series doesn’t win your heart this time around, then I highly recommend you to go out and find something else to read. But if you are deeply interested for what the future holds for these Canadians, I must tell you to keep on reading. It only gets better and better from here on out.
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10