The latest Scott Pilgrim graphic novel (we’re up to Volume 5!) from Bryan Lee O’Malley is a change of pace from past volumes, as the story is reaching its conclusion in the next volume, so certain plot points are advanced a bit further than they were in past volumes and matters are dealt with in a more serious manner, which is an interesting twist that makes this one of the “deeper” volumes of the series, while still maintaining the endearing charm of the earlier parts of the story. As Scott Pilgrim matures, so does his narrative.
Oh, and there is a shiny cover!
There are two especially notable changes in this volume, compared to past ones…
1. For the first time, the battle scenes are not major aspects of the comic, or rather, they are major aspects, but more for how they affect OTHER characters as opposed to how they affect Scott himself. This was a brilliant idea on O’Malley’s part, as by the fifth volume of the series, we get the idea that Scott is going to fight some of Ramona’s evil ex-boyfriends and he is going to win, so while it is certainly awesome for Scott to be fighting killer robots, it is equally awesome to see how the people around him react to Scott’s standard brawls.
2. Also for the first time, we see characters (and the story itself) truly look beyond the present, and ask “What happens AFTER Scott defeats all of Ramona’s ex-boyfriends?” Last volume, we saw Scott Pilgrim “get it together,” but does that really prepare him for a future with Ramona? Has any of the past volumes truly prepared Scott for a “real life” with Ramona beyond the spectacle of fighting her evil ex-boyfriends? It’s a sober reality that pops into the tale with a vengeance, as O’Malley pulls the ol’ bait and switch, giving us heartfelt drama in the middle of our funnybook!
As it usual for a Scott Pilgrim graphic novel, there are tons of cute little moments, like Wallace texting Scott via Ramona or the evil ex-boyfriends setting up a Sex Bob-omb show just to attack Scott with a robot.
But the best part of the comic I found to be the deep character work, mostly with Kim Pine (who has not exactly been over-flowing with character development to this point) and Ramona Flowers, as both characters attempt to come to grips with their place in life, and interestingly, though they take drastically different routes, both characters’ answer (for now, at least) is to run away.
Kim and Ramona are also both involved in perhaps the best scene in the book, where Ramona’s ex-boyfriends (in this volume, twin brothers) have Scott doubting Ramona, only for Kim to renew Scott’s faith in Ramona – only doing so via deception on her part. It’s a touching/dramatic/almost heartbreaking scene.
More so than most Scott Pilgrim volumes, this one ends in a cliffhanger, and if the quality of Volume 6 remotely compares to the first five, then the wait for Volume 6 is going to be agony.