Scott Pilgrim #1-6
Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Illustrator: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Publisher: Oni Press
Original Publication Date: 2004 – 2010
Genre(s): Graphic novel, Fiction
The Scott Pilgrim series follows (duh) Scott Pilgrim, a 23-year-old nobody who lives with his gay roommate and plays in a band with his friends. When he meets Ramona, it’s love at first sight. He even (kind of) dumps his high school girlfriend for her. But what Scott doesn’t realize is that Ramona comes with a lot more baggage than other girls. In order to date her, he has to fight to the death and defeat all 7 of Ramona’s evil
ex-boyfriends exes. Can Scott win the fight? And is Ramona even worth risking his life?
If you know me, you know that one of my favorite films of all time is Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. I’ve seen it a million times and will continue to watch it as often as possible. I knew that it was based on a graphic novel series, but never really looked into it until here recently. Once I mentioned my interest, my girlfriend immediately bought the box set for me. This is why she’s the love of my life.
This is one of those rare occasions where I’ve seen the film (multiple times) before reading the source text. I hate doing that because I’d much rather read the original first. Also, I’d rather the book spoil the movie than vice versa. Luckily for me, the graphic series was not ruined at all, despite how many times I’ve seen the film. For the first 3 books, the movie stays pretty close to the original storyline, so yes, the books were predictable yet still fun and interesting. The last 3 books go more in depth than the film and deliver tons more backstory, so again, still worth reading even if you’ve seen the film.
The series features a diverse and amazing cast of characters that, to this day and every day after, is unmatched. Obviously Scott and Ramona are the main characters and are of course great (and greatly flawed), but there are so many other characters that make this series a goldmine. And each of them undergoes their own character arcs that give depth to a story that, on the surface, just seems silly and action-packed. Even Young Neil goes through a transformation! I’m going to say, though, that Scott’s roommate, Wallace Wells, is 100% the best and most underrated character of the series. Wallace is the kind of guy I need in my life ASAP. The books are hilarious, and about 70% of that comes from Wallace.
Back to Scott and Ramona. They are each likable and unlikable in different ways. Scott is a huge asshole 85% of the time, but I can’t help but love him. He does a lot of bad things, but he does grow as a character and learn when he’s in the wrong. He apologizes to the people he wronged. I think, by the end of book 6, he really is changed. As for Ramona, she can also be an asshole. She acts like she’s an angel and Scott just messes everything up, but she’s also incredibly hypocritical and punishes Scott for a lot of things she shouldn’t. She’s pretty terrible to him. And by the end, I don’t really know if she has grown as much as he has. I think we are supposed to fall in love with Ramona alongside Scott, but I would argue she’s more flawed than he is, and doesn’t necessarily learn from her mistakes as much as he does.
This series is definitely an adventure. The action-packed fight scenes are awesome and nicely broken up with various mundane scenes that really come together to tell the story. Of course the main plot line is Scott fighting Ramona’s evil
ex-boyfriends exes, but there’s so much more than that! It’s fun to watch the characters grow and interact. The dialogue is hilarious and punchy, and the art is a great mix of manga-like and video games scenes.
Like I’ve mentioned, the humor is what really makes this a favorite of mine. O’Malley is hilarious. I really like that the series breaks the fourth wall. The characters are constantly referencing other volumes of the series:
O’Malley has the perfect sense of humor.
Seriously, I laughed out loud a million times throughout the series. It’s crazy, and random, and things aren’t always explained—but they don’t have to be. The story just…works. And in the end, in between all the fighting and subspace transportation and power-ups, it’s really a story about learning when to move on and when to hold on. So, think about that.
I’ll leave you with my absolute favorite scene in both the series (book #1) and the film:
Note: Each book I gave 5 stars with the exception of Book 3, which I gave 4 stars. So, the average here comes out to 4.8 stars. Hence my 5-star rating.