Reviews: Scott Pilgrim


It's O.K. but not that great. Yes, this is a shitpost. Will write an actual review sometime... or maybe never.

Great art with subpar storytelling.

Most of the reviews of this series thus far have either stuttering enthusiasm or unwarranted spite, due to the fact it's polarizing and caters to a very specific type of person.

I am not that type of person.

I'm not the sort of person who likes to waste time gushing mindless praise or spewing mindless vitriol either - LET'S GET EVENHANDED!

For those of you unsure about whether to read this, I was a fence-sitter too. There were aspects of this that attracted me: the manga-like art; the whimsical/mundane setting; the goofy humor. But there were things I'd noticed from the previews that I found off-putting, namely the references to video games and indie culture.

Now, I have NO problem with those; things I've grown up with and enjoyed. What I DO have a problem with is this 21st century habit of fetishizing our influences and making compulsive name-drops, this way we've confused Being Cool with Mentioning Things That Are Cool. This isn't to say I'm 100% against this sort of thing, but there's a specific place to use it in storytelling, and there's overkill. References are good when you're using them to say something, and bad when you're using them to show off.

This reference-heavy mentality ruins it to a hefty degree, and I feel it does so against Brian O'Malley's better artistic instincts. The visual nuances seemed to indicate to me somebody far cleverer than his writing and characterizations let on.

I'll state this forthrightly: the characters in this series are weak, the protagonist glaringly so. The hero comes off as an unlikeable, emotionally immature doofus, which would be fine if he was given positive traits as well, but he isn't. Most of the other characters seem to be little more than hip-looking extras, and that extends even to the girl Scott pines after and who is the catalyst for the plot.

A lot of people have written that they were hooked by the slice-of-life tone of most of this book and then taken aback by the incredibly silly ending, but I felt just the opposite—the book works best at its silliest and most cartoony, lampooning the conventions of manga and video games (a justified use of referencing, for once). There's a very good punch-line at the end of the "boss fight." It was the only thing in the book that made me laugh out loud, and it felt more real and more genuine to me than all the drama before.

The Fourth Wall has been blown up and raped. You'll probably like it.

Yes, ignore how stupid the title is. Anyway, why is Scott Pilgrim so good? I don't know. Maybe because of several Chekhov's Guns (that is more like a Chekhov's Arsenal), the destroyed Fourth Wall that keeps being broken, shonen-style fights, shoujo-style relationship, dramedy, or just the simple idea of a 23-year-old nerdy bassist that shares an apartment with his insanely gay and a sex maniac roomate and has his band whose name is a pun on a Mario character and Sex Bomb is surprisingly related to my life somehow. I think it's all of above. I can compare it to FLCL. While FLCL is a story of a boy getting out of his childhood and moving to his adolescence, Scott Pilgrim is a story of an adolescent becoming an adult. Both have the same epicness and craziness effect, but FLCL is wierder, FYI. On the other hand, for a person that was able to read all 6 books in 4 hours, I may have missed a ton of stuff. The author seems to have almost all (it's just not all because of Scott and his friend, Lit- I mean Neil) of the secondary (by that I mean reccuring characters) snarky women, bi women, slutty women or gay men.

On short, if you are here, I expect you to be one of the persons who is going to read that and like it a lot. Otherwise, I may say: "There is someone on TV Tropes with more than a minimal social life?"


So there are two things that really make these books special, the perfect capturing of the way people interact in their own little social groups and hangout with friends together with this sort of deadpan satirical humour that's not really designed to make someone laugh out loud but creates smiles at the exaggerated absurdities of people living out their lives.

It's roughly there that the similarities end (but was there anything more important than they can share?), the now fantastical feel of high society British society is replaced with fantastical elements from pop culture made real and it's used to show how the characters think about the world. Instead of balls and carriages, it's boss battles and bass fights. If you can't delight in the characters cooking a Vegan Shepards pie (no-ones vegan, they just like to be inclusive) including one of the characters giving you the genuine recipe, maybe it's not for you.

But the most important difference is where they decide to stop. Jane Austen novels always end with the reveal of love and the happily ever after marriage, but the declaration of love is only half the story in Scott Pilgrim, relationships need to be worked through and how people get over their problems and share each other is just as much part of the story as how they first got together. In general the books have a sense of time and pacing that few other things have been allowed. There's touching, heartwarming moments of character growth and realisation that happen in book 3 whereas for any single book or film they'd have been saved for the epilogue. People get better and relapse but with a bit more knowledge and keep on moving forward.

Books 1 and 2 represent best whats to come, they have the quirk and romance and humour that you can expect although being introductions the drama hasn't reach it's peak yet.

3 and 4 are by far and away my favourite, relationships have really consolidated and the arc with Envy Adams is so central to the overall story, a lot of the most enjoyable and touching moments are in this arc.

5 and 6 are much darker and in many ways can feel like people have regressed too much. But reading through them again as part of the series, although they struggle to bring everything to a close with the weigh they added, everything that should be there is and they do a fine job and bringing the series into context.

Depending on how much you look into it

I read the 6 books in 5 days thanks to my boyfriend. An in general, after the ride, it was pretty meh. The first four books were basically a sinusoidal wave: first book, cool; second book, bleh; third book, somewhat better-bleh; four book, cool. Five and six are a swan dive into badly written Dramedy and an Idiot Plot like no other.

First, let me start off by saying that this must be the only comic I've seen whose style has become more generic as the years passed. The first book? Awesome, I loved the style. It had creepy teeth, but it was generally cool. As we advance to the sixth, the style becomes more refined (albeit inconsistent every so often) at the same time it turned more and more Animesque, with not only expressions, which was a constant from the first, but panels and shots inherent of manga (amen of even more anime-like expressions). Way to kill a personal style.

The characters, just, get derailed as they want. They don't seem to have a train of thought, or a linear personality which makes sense. Nope. They all orbit around Scott's dick, a main character Mary Stu -ish enough that he seems to have come out of a badly written fanfiction. And the author's ideas are constantly rubbed against our faces. There's nothing wrong with that, in my opinion, but subtlety is a virtue. What is this, Narnia?

The humor is... something. It has quite a range. It goes from intelligent and ellaborated references to 'haha gay' 'haha YourMother'. Because being gay is gay and gays are gay and it's a gay way to be gay.

My last complain would be about how the author has no clue about writing women, for they all orbit around Scott's dick(ness) again and he seems to be flooding with girls despite being widely recognized as a jerk (more like a big idiot to me), but, alas. Everyone is derailed. And Ramona has seven ex boyfriends all of whom are evil orbitting around her. The second ex boyfriend is much nicer than Scott though :I

Conclusion? I'll stick to the film. I absolutely loved it when I watched it months ago with my boyfriend. If you like 'epicness' or 'hot blood', as I nicely call stupid gratuituous action with few base and main characters with a subnormal IQ (for instead, TTGL), this IS your comic.

Love is a Battlefield

Ah, Scott Pilgrim, the slacker generation's masterpiece. There's nothing I can say that'll do this series justice. But I'll give it a try anyway.

First, lets just get the nasties out of the way: How well you like the series will hinge on a few things:
1: How vitriolic you like your (supporting) characters. Think Seinfeld or IASIP. It'll take some getting used to so you can sympathize with some guys, and even then, Character Development kicks in at around the third or forth volume, so you'll be rooting for the lead couple in due time.
2: How well you can stomach several genres at once. This series switches between slice of life, shonen fighting, and romantic comedy and all thrice at once in a fingersnap, and not very fluidly. Though O'Malley can balance Dramedy like nothing else.
3: How well versed you are in pop culture, particularly your Canadian TV or overall video game knowledge. But be assured, there's something for everyone.
4: Whether or not the title character hits a little too close to home. He's an ambitionless, dorky as hell slacker twenty something who chronically suffers from The Tetris Effect and inadvertently burns himself a few bridges just for his aloof love interest. I find that a tad too realistic, considering the comic in question.

With that said, I'd say this comic has it all. It's got the sharp wit and inside humor of some of the best webcomics out there, the simultaneous heartwarming and heartrending drama of the romance genre, and all the Crazy Awesome and high octane ferocity and fisticuffs of a Fighting Series condensed in six volumes.

Now go read it!