Friday, June 25, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Bryan Lee O'Malley)

Volume 2! Of Scott Pilgrim! Yes!



Flashback: 7 years ago. A 16-year-old Scott Pilgrim has just moved to Toronto. New school, new friends, new kids trying to beat him up all the time. He meets Lisa; they hang out and play video games. He meets Kim; they hang out and do geography class projects together. The three unite and form a band called Sonic & Knuckles. Boys from a rival school storm Scott, Lisa, and Kim's school and kidnap Kim, but Scott fights his way through several levels of bosses to get her back. Scott and Kim start dating! Everything is cutesy and fun until Scott moves away again and the two break up. Wait a minute, Scott and Kim? Kim Pine? Drummer for Scott's current band, Sex Bob-omb? Oooooohhh snap! Right from the get go in volume two we start to learn a little bit more about Scott: mainly, that he isn't the super innocent nerd everyone thinks he is. He used to date Kim, has started dating Ramona, and has yet to officially break up with Knives. And who is this mysterious ex-girlfriend that people keep saying is evil?

Scott finally breaks up with Knives, sending her on a jealous rampage that involves dying her hair and attacking Ramona in a library. Meanwhile, Scott's gay roommate Wallace gets the skinny on the next evil ex-boyfriend that Scott has to face: famous movie star Lucas Lee. Lucas is in town shooting a movie, but finds time to fight Scott in between takes, no big. At their first encounter, Scott gets his ass handed to him, but Lucas decides to take a break and drink some gatorade. While the two are hanging out waiting for round 2 to start, Scott notices Lucas' skateboard, and dares him to grind down a 200-step staircase. Lucas can't turn down a challenge! He makes it all the way down the staircase but botches the landing, reducing himself to a $14 pile of change. Scott wins! By default. Scott goes home bummed out that he couldn't even keep the item that appeared after Lucas' demise, a mithril skateboard. (Scott didn't pick up the skateboard proficiency in grade five. Oh well.)

While chilling at home after the fight, Scott gets a call from his ex-girlfriend, Envy Adams. Not much is known about Envy, except that she's now the lead singer of The Clash at Demonhead, a band that's been swiftly gaining popularity. Oh, and she broke Scott's heart. Envy tells Scott that her band is playing a few shows in Toronto, and that his band should open one of the shows. Scott lapses into depression, clearly not wanting to see Envy—or her new boyfriend Todd—at all, let alone open for their band. Stephen Stills protests! They must play! The band goes to one of The Clash at Demonhead's shows so that arrangements can be made, with Ramona and Young Neil in tow. Drama! Young Neil arrives with his new girlfriend on his arm—his new girlfriend KNIVES CHAU! Even more drama! Once the show starts, Ramona realizes that Scott's ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend, Todd, is actually RAMONA'S THIRD EVIL EX-BOYFRIEND!


Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
by Bryan Lee O'Malley

This volume doesn't have as much action as the first (the intro fight is a flashback and the boss battle is hardly even a real fight), but it contains a ton of much-needed backstory. You get a much deeper understanding of all of the characters, as well as a few quirky tidbits thrown in that were alluded to in volume one (example: in volume one Scott mentions that he'll discuss his last employment situation in a future volume, and here he follows through).

These are probably going to get 10s across the board for style. Bryan Lee O'Malley continues his commitment to video game references by including several more distinctly stylistic scenes, the mithril skateboard "item" being the most prominent.

The plot doesn't drive forward as strongly as the first book, but it's still incredible smooth to get through and ridiculously fun to read. The inclusion of backstory also ups the character investment, which is one of the few things that the first book could have benefitted from, I think.


Keep reading, Genoshans!

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