Friday, June 18, 2010

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Bryan Lee O'Malley)

You may or may not know this already, but July 20, 2010, will see the release of one of the most highly-anticipated comic books of all time: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O'Malley. Now, I know what some of you are saying. Who is this Scott Pilgrim character? Why do I care? Well, you care because the Scott Pilgrim series is one of the GREATEST LITERARY CREATIONS OF ALL TIME AND SCOTT HIMSELF IS AWESOME!

Oh yeah, and did I mention that the entire series is going to be a movie directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) and starring Michael Cera (Superbad, Arrested Development)??? Because it is! August 13! Yes!


Over the course of the next five weeks, I'm going to post reviews of each of the first five volumes of Scott Pilgrim, culminating in a review of the final volume on July 23. Well, review doesn't seem to be the right word. These are going to be more like recaps. Unlike normal Genoshan reviews, these WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS, so read at your own risk! If you just want the straight up ratings, without any spoilers, feel free to scroll down to the bottom of each recap, where the usual numerical ratings will remain spoiler-free. Now that all the business stuff is taken care of, let's get this show on the road!


Toronto. 2004. Scott Pilgrim—23; awesome—has just started dating Knives Chau—17; Chinese—and his friends are giving him shit about it. In order to stop the beration (berating? berativeness?), Scott brings Knives to meet his friends and fellow band members at one of their rehearsals. The band's name: Sex Bob-omb, one of roughly three trillion video game references in the series. The band meets Knives; Scott's gay roommate Wallace Wells meets Knives; Scott's little sister Stacey finds out about Knives; EVERYTHING IS GOING WELL FOR SCOTT OH YEAH! But then Scott starts seeing this mysterious hipster chick with funky hair in his dreams. Then he sees her in real life, at the library! After meeting her at a party, he finds out that she works for, so he places an order, hoping that she'll bring him his package. She does! Her name is Ramona Flowers, and through an awkward dialogue with a smitten Scott the world discovers that she's been entering his dreams through a subspace highway—basically a shortcut on her delivery route that runs directly through his brain. Weird!

Scott somehow manages to convince Ramona to go on a date with him (even though he's technically dating Knives! Uh oh!), and then invites her to come see his band perform at a local bar. After their date, Scott receives a strange email, and subsequent letter, from someone named Matthew Patel, claiming that they should schedule a time to fight. Pssh, junk mail. Scott and the other Sex Bob-omb band members, Stephen Stills and Kim Pine, show up to their gig and meet up with: Stacey Pilgrim; a boy that Stacey brings; Wallace Wells, who hits on Stacey's boy; Young Neil, Sex Bob-omb's biggest fan; Knives Chau; Knives' friend, also 17; some other people; AND RAMONA FLOWERS OH NO BUT ISN'T KNIVES THERE YES SHE IS. Scott hides backstage while the first band, Clash and the Boys, plays their set. Unfortunately, the final song in Clash and the Boy's set knocks most of the audience unconscious, except for Scott's friends, who were all either in the balcony, or in the bathroom. As Sex Bob-omb takes the stage to play to a mostly comatose audience, Matthew Patel bursts through the ceiling and attacks Scott! Unfortunately for Matthew Patel, Scott Pilgrim is the best fighter in the province (we're in Canada, remember). Scott fights Matthew Patel! Matthew Patel summons flying demon hipster chicks! Scott summons his friends! The flying demon hipster chicks shoot fire balls at Scott! Deflected! Scott K-O's Matthew Patel, turning him into coins.

What was that all about? Oh, sorry Scott, that was the first of Ramona Flowers' SEVEN EVIL EX-BOYFRIENDS! All of whom have to be defeated if Scott wants to date Ramona. Bummer. Scott and Ramona start dating, and the book ends with several cliffhangers, mainly: what's Scott gonna tell Knives? who are Ramona's other evil exes, and will Scott be able to defeat them all?? why does Ramona get a weird blinking halo around her head whenever Scott asks her about her past??? WILL SCOTT GET MORE THAN $2.10 NEXT TIME HE DEFEATS AN EVIL EX-BOYFRIEND BECAUSE THAT'S HOW MUCH HE GOT FOR BEATING MATTHEW PATEL AND THAT DOESN'T EVEN COVER BUS FARE?!?!?

So there's that. Why is this book so good? Where do I even start? How about I don't, and just jump right to the ratings?


Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life
by Brian Lee O'Malley

It's soooooo original. Bryan Lee O'Malley creates a unique, quasi-realistic, video game-esque world where normal, mundane things happen all the time, but boss battles and subspace highways get thrown in for good measure. This first volume loses just a few tenths of a point for having a completely unexpected ending. I didn't have a problem with it, and actually think that it shouldn't have been unexpected at all, but alas, it's the number one complaint people have about the volume.

I have never seen anything like this ever in my life and it is glorious. This is the kind of book that people will be stealing ideas from forever. A+++++

Maybe you don't read comic books. So what? This is exactly the kind of comic book that I would give to someone who doesn't read comic books. It's funny, accessible, easy to follow, but also has a decent amount of conflict and genuine emotion. Scott Pilgrim is a real person with real problems and real reactions. He just happens to live in a world where people can build up a 64-hit combo.


Now before you get too worried that the 2010 Daily Genoshan Top Ten List is going to be 60% Scott Pilgrim, let me tell you how the rating system is actually going to work. Similar to previous comic book series that have been reviewed, the final rating will encompass each of the individual volumes. This volume's rating of 9.58 will be averaged in with the ratings of the other five books to produce the Ultimate Scott Pilgrim Rating that will be revealed alongside the final review. Until next time, keep reading, Genoshans!

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