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Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness

July 27th, 2010

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OK so the third volume is pretty much where it goes from being fun to awesome, right around where I decided this book, despite its awful first volume, was a truly inspired story.

Spoilers after the jump.

We finally get some decent writing here (and O’Malley’s art gets better with each volume). The supporting characters are more fleshed-out, he plays some mystery regarding Ramona’s past and we finally have a decent fight between Scott and an Evil Ex named Todd Ingram. Yeah, there’s a big deus ex machina at the end, but at least the story is self-aware enough to admit that.

But the big draw of the third volume is the relationship between Ramona, Scott’s mysterious new girlfriend and Envy Adams, Scott’s college girlfriend who plays in rival band Clash at Demonhead. Yeah, Envy’s an antagonist, but O’Malley doesn’t paint her as evil like all the boyfriends (aside: when Scott defeats the boyfriends do they “die”? This is somewhat of a moral implication of the basic premise of the book… yeah, I know it’s all video game logic but the book is REALLY about relationships… so what does it mean that Scott is presumably killing all these people?).

ANYWAY, the real draw is the Envy/Ramona relationship. O’Malley’s characters finally don’t feel like video game constructs (Matthew Patel in Volume 1), but real-life fleshed out characters. Envy isn’t evil– she’s flawed. And as much as I wanted to see Ramona beat the shit out of her (Envy, who used to be in a band with Scott, is a celebrity now), the resolution presented here is much more satisfying.

Finally, I’m wondering if some nerd online has an annotated Scott Pilgrim, documenting all the pop culture references. “Scott Pilgrim” is to 90s pop culture what “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” is to English literature. So far I counted references to Akira, Monkey Island and The Smashing Pumpkins to name a few, all very much a part of my own adolescence. It’s a lot of fun, but I suspect many more are whizzing by.

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