Some people might call me a poseur, and fuck you if you do, but I only really knew about Scott Pilgrim when I saw the trailer for the film that’s coming out. I knew that Edgar Wright from Shaun of the Dead fame was involved, so I was excited to see the trailer…up until I saw it. I was mostly confused, and wondering when something funny would happen, and was overall just underwhelmed. A few weeks went by, and all over the Twitters I see people talking about the release of Book 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour. Not only was I surprised that there were six books, but that people were having midnight release parties in comic book stores across the country, with hundreds of people attending. Taken completely by surprise, I decided to take on the task of reading the entire series to see what the kids were so excited about.
Who says shit like this? Oh, that’s right, pseudo-hipsters that like videogames.
Since I already mentioned that there are six books, I’m just going to kind of describe the plot of the whole thing, rather than taking it book by book. Scott Pilgrim is a character that I would describe as “hipster lite”, as in he is aware of the social movement of hipsters, yet keeps his distance from them, while still actually having common interests with them. He is a 24-year-old who is unemployed and is in a band named after a Super Mario Brothers reference. He sees a girl at a party with asymmetrical hair, who he instantly becomes infatuated with and attempts to woo. After getting her to deliver a CD to his house, he is actually relatively successful in convincing Ramona, his new-found love, in going on a few dates with him. Early on in their relationship, she lets it be known that she has Seven Evil Exes that must be defeated if he wants to be with her, a challenge that Scott both fears, and accepts.
Breaking the fourth wall? Aren’t there enough Deadpool comics out there? Unless this is a nod to Ferris Bueller, in which case, far more acceptable.
These events all take place in the first book, and the next books show a variety of things happen, which are actually all relatively the same. Scott meets one of the Exes, they get into a fight, there is some videogame reference thrown in, and then Scott plays a show with his band. We also learn that Scott’s ex-girlfriend is in a popular band, which causes some strife with Ramona, which is eventually smoothed over. There are ups and downs for the next few books, but in Book 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe, shit gets real, as Ramona mysteriously disappears, and Scott is left alone and depressed. Luckily, in Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, she returns, letting Scott know she needed to “find herself”, and with her help, Scott is able to defeat the leader of the Evil Exes, Gideon. Scott and Ramona then get some semblance of a relationship, both claiming they have issues to work out, and our hero appears to have finally gotten what he wanted all along, a hip girlfriend with interesting hair.
Scenes like this remind me that the book takes place in Canada, and completely fucks with your mind.
The first four books of this series didn’t really do much for me. Obviously it was entertaining enough, since I kept reading, but I still don’t really get it. At least in Book 5, things got a little more interesting with the disappearance of the love interest, which upped the stakes a little more. The first four books were cute and quirky, but I’ve seen that story told before. It just reminded me of books like Blankets, Perks of Being a Wallflower, or maybe something that Jeffrey Brown wrote. And come to think of it, it’s even more similar to (500) Days of Summer, which is about two hipsters thinking they aren’t hipsters being all lovey dovey and going to Ikea and being ironic, all the while being punctuated with surreal delves into a fantasy world. Yeah, that’s what I wanted to say. I’m hoping there’s something I just don’t get about the book, and to each their own I guess, but I can’t help but think there are one too many passengers riding the hype train on this one. But before getting too bent out of shape, look at the rating I gave it, and know I am not a heartless asshole.
Wolfman Moon Scale