Friday, December 31, 2010

Comic Review: Scott Pilgrim

 I was a bit hesitant about seeing the Scott Pilgrim movie (on the one hand, so many people who have similar taste to mine loved it but on the other hand it just didn't look that cool) so I decided that I'd read the comics first and then decide if I wanted to see the movie. And, after having read the books, yes I'm willing to see it when it comes to the $1 theater in December, the story is at least worth that much. And this is a review for the whole series, I just put up the first book cover instead of all six.

Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley
 Summary: Scott Pilgrim leads a very boring life until he meets Ramona Flowers and decides that the two of them must start dating. However, to really be her boyfriend, he has to fight her seven evil exes and grow a life himself.

The Good: There were a ton of side character in here and, while some of them felt pretty flat, they were pretty fun to watch and many of them appeared pretty often and were connected some way or another to the overall conflict. And the way the comic sometimes blatantly lampshaded (usually done by the side characters) just how unrealistic the whole situation was got more than a few laughs out of me.

The Bad: Well, bluntly put, Scott is an ass and not even a sympathetic ass. I know some people who don't like the story because of that, some people who said that the movie didn't work because Scott wasn't enough of an ass, and some people say that they would've liked the story to follow his band members instead. On the one hand, I don't want to say that every character in every story has to be redeemed for the story to work but hell, I didn't like Scott and not liking the main character to the point of not being able to understand why you should be sympathizing with them is a bad sign*. So an unlikeable main character with a too comic-y ending left a sour taste in my mouth, thank god for the side characters!

The Art: Talk about an art shift, the first two volumes look, well, kinda crappy. And this is compared to webcomic art (ie, a similar amount of output over a year as a hobby), just not that polished and I think he wasn't using that many screentones or shading as well. After the fourth volume or so it looks good however, it has an obvious manga influence for sure but I also see some western comic influences as well. And it was rather cool how some real life landmarks in Toronto got worked in, always love it when an author does that.

So, slow beginning, little bit of an awkward ending but an interesting middle, just not interesting for the intended reasons I think. I'll pass on buying the series but I would recommend it to a lot of my friends who enjoy the kind of story that pokes fun at itself. And I'll be sure to see the movie when it gets to my school (think that's the first week in December) and I'll put up a review for that too!

*Now that I think about it, Scott might have been the Canadian (or American, it would work well here too) version of a N.E.E.T. and I don't like/sympathize with NEETs.