So after speaking with some folks on GamersWithJobs I finally bought the first two volumes of Scott Pilgrim, the graphic novel that the upcoming Edgar Wright film is based on. Well, in the end I couldn’t help myself and bought the remaining three volumes and am not anticipating the sixth and final volume releasing at the end of July a few weeks before the movie hits theaters.
I think it is important to note that Scott Pilgrim is, first and foremost, a comedy. From some of what people said I was afraid it was going to be more an indie/hipster/music thing than at first seemed, but this is totally a gamer comic. There are references to retro classics all over the place, including multiple to River City Ransom and the band name being Sex Bob-omb. The jokes are great and help the reader like the character.
That said, the story certainly has its drama. There are two things going on here. The first is that Scott Pilgrim is 23, recently graduated College, recently lost his job and has no interest in becoming a responsible adult. The second is that he falls in love with a mysterious girl named Ramona Flowers. The two central themes intertwine and intersect frequently, as one is indeed related to the other.
As all girlfriends do, Ramona comes with baggage. The fact that they are a league of Seven Evil Exes is a perfect representation of how the laws of reality in this universe are bent into the absurd, even though everyone accepts them as being normal. There’s nothing strange about any of it to the characters. This is part of the comical charm to the story.
Scott and Ramona each have a past they are trying to run from, and in the end they are both trying to change. However, we don’t get to know much about Ramona or her past whereas Scott’s is an open book. Details of Ramona are slowly leaked out whereas Scott’s are put all on the table. In essence, he’s a bit of a douche bag. However, the story progresses in him becoming a responsible adult, and when he has slowly reached the point where he is ready to recognize his flaws and change, well, that’s where volume 5 ends at a pretty big cliffhanger.
There is a lot of realistic drama here, but as stated, the comic is a comedy first and foremost. The problems are dealt with in Scott’s fights with each evil ex, and once they have been defeated he realizes what he needs to do in order to change. This makes the dynamics of the relationship feel rather rocky and uneven. However, all in all volumes 1, 2 and 5 are the best with 3 and 4 being entertaining albeit a bit more shoddily written. All of them are good and get you to laugh.
I imagine the film will actually make Scott and Ramona’s relationship flow a lot more smoothly, but at the cost of a lot of the other character’s own developments. In many ways some of the issues with the side characters feels as if it is not delved into enough. In fact, it actually feels as if this comic series is going to be too short. The characters are all enjoyable, and that so much time is spent on Scott and Ramona is a bit of a shame since the rest of the characters are also interesting.
Overall, however, I’m pretty pleased with my purchase and kind of want to read it again without any awkward breaks between. It is funny, and the drama is relevant without being over-the-top or preachy. The only thing over the top is the comedy and geeky references, which are well-timed, written and executed. So this comes highly recommended.
As does the upcoming downloadable game.
P.S. Wallace is the best portrayal of a gay roommate (or even character) in anything ever, and the actor seems to do a perfect job playing the part (best thing: you wouldn’t know he was gay if they didn’t tell you! Not all gay guys act like women, you know).
P.P.S. AT-AT Day Afternoon is awesome.