Author/Illustrator: Bryan Lee O’Malley
My rating: 4 of 5
You could say that Scott has a problem with commitments. That might be the reason why, at age 23, he’s lazing about, free-loading off his roommate Wallace, dating a high-school girl (the most recent in a long line of girlfriends), and playing in a mostly-awful band with some friends instead of actually getting steady work and maybe a consistent relationship. . . . Maybe. A lot changes in his life when he falls for Ramona, a delivery girl who he initially meets literally taking a shortcut through his dreams–don’t ask, it works. Ramona has issues with commitment too, and a requirement of their relationship is that Scott defeat all seven of her evil exes. Talk about unusual relationships!
So . . . in spite of the premise sounding definitely odd, Scott Pilgrim is actually a pretty neat graphic novel series. I mean, what’s not to love about a Canadian geeky shounen graphic novel?! And I’m very serious about all three of those adjectives. It’s very Canadian–classic Bryan Lee O’Malley with the super-neat art that entails. But it’s also emphatically more geeky than any of his other graphic novels that I’ve read so far (such as Seconds or Lost at Sea); seriously, there are all sorts of video game effects scattered throughout, especially during the fights, as though they were normal. I love it! And yes, this is definitely a shounen story: girls, fights, leveling up, and all. But in spite of being kind of cheesy at parts, this story is also a very telling picture of what it’s like to be a young adult today, of the challenges of getting from childhood to independent adulthood. And I really do appreciate where O’Malley brought the story–for a long while, I was wondering if it would ever make it. So . . . I don’t think Scott Pilgrim is for everyone, but for those with whom the very description “Canadian geeky shounen graphic novel” resonates, seriously, check it out. It’s fun!
Note: There are at least two editions of this graphic novel, one in black and white and another colored by Nathan Fairbairn. They’re both the same story, but I think the color really suits the story and adds an extra layer of fun.
Note 2: This review is for the entire 6-volume set. You probably figured that out already, but these are published a little differently that most manga in that they have separate titles for each volume.