With a movie coming out in a few months and certain comic-reading pals of mine gushing over this series, I thought I should finally give a read to the first volume in Bryan Lee O’Malley‘s Scott Pilgrim series, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life.
Scott is an unemployed 23-year-old who spends his time in an (admittedly) terrible garage band and semi-dating a 17-year-old high school student he met on the bus. One day, he starts having bizarre dreams about a girl with wild hair on a pair of rollerblades, and when he finally meets the girl at a party, he’s head over heels for her right away. The only catch — she’s got seven evil ex-boyfriends that he’s going to have to battle to keep her in his life.
To be honest, this is a book where I’m left wondering just what the big deal is. To begin with, Scott is an inherently unlikable character. He’s a loser who can’t get a grip on his own life and treads dangerously close to statutory territory with his sort-of girlfriend, Knives. (The character names, incidentally, are pretty unlikely as well.) The way he’s willing to throw Knives away the minute he meets Ramona Flowers doesn’t really help the situation. Then, after spending most of the book coming across as sort of a pantywaist, the first evil ex attacks and he magically turns into a character from Street Fighter, complete with special moves, with virtually no explanation. O’Malley has violated the number one rule of speculative fiction — you’ve got to establish what the rules of your universe are early, and stick to them. The superpowers are as out of the blue as they would have been if David Schwimmer had suddenly started hurling around fireballs in the third season of Friends.
That said, I’m still planning to pick up volume two.
Why, you ask? Boy, is that a legitimate question. The book isn’t a total loss. There’s a quirkiness to it that I do enjoy, and while Scott is somewhat pathetic, these circumstances are the sort of thing that can make a character man up and develop into someone you want to read about. I’d like to see that happen. And I don’t even need him to complete that journey in volume two (there are six or seven of these, I think), I just need an indication that he has that potential. That said, if I read volume two and I’m left with the same feeling I have now, I doubt I’ll read volume three.
I’ve been reviewing my butt off lately. Here are some of my latest:
- Astro City: The Dark Age Book Four #3 — Part Three of “Vengeance is Mine”
- Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #14 — The return of Black Adam
- Fables #93 – Part two of “The Little Murder”
- Hack/Slash #30 – Part one of “Superhero Sidekick Slaughter”
- The Incredibles #7 — The truth of Dash’s power loss revealed
- The Muppet Show #3 – Conclusion of “On the Road”
- Nemesis #1 – Mark Millar’s latest attempt to lobotomize superheroes
- Power Girl #10 — Power Girl’s blackmailer revealed
- Secret Six #19 – Part one of “Cats in the Cradle”
- Superman #698 – Part three of “Last Stand of New Krypton”
- Superman 80-Page Giant #1 – Seven short stories of the man of Steel
- Done-In-One Reviews for April 3, 2010 — In which I review Cloak and Dagger #1, Disney’s Hero Squad #3, Incorruptible #4, Jack of Fables #44, Justice League of America #43, Justice Society of America #37, Outsiders #28, PVP #45, RASL #7, She-Hulk Sensational #1, Teen Titans #81, The Web #7 and Wizards of Mickey #3