Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Scott Pilgrim Volume 4
Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together
by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Oni Press, 205 pages, b&w (a few color pages at the front), $11.95 and worth every penny

The most anticipated comic of 2007 arrived in stores last week. I went to the comic shop straight after work and it was already sold out. There was a big empty spot on the shelf where it had been. Ah, but my copy was waiting for me in my pullbox! I'm not a boyscout, but occasionally i am prepared.

If you haven't read Scott Pilgrim before, here's the deal. Scott is a lovable slacker who just might be starting to get his act together. He dates the mysterious, oft-hairstyle-changing Ramona. He plays bass guitar in a sorta-good band called Sex Bob-omb. He rooms with (and sponges off of) Wallace. He lives in Toronto, Canada.* His world is full of band practice, not finding a job, hanging with friends, dating Ramona, and fighting Romona's seven evil ex-boyfriends.

Yeah, Scott has to defeat each of Romona's evil exes in video-gamish battles. Luckily, Scott is the best fighter in the province. When i say video-gamish, this is what i mean: there are power-ups, exp. points, and weapon proficiencies.

Scott and Wallace do that "laughing hysterically" gag from Peanuts

Also, Ramona delivers packages through subspace. And sometimes her path takes her through Scott's dreams. This is what, if you're being literary, you'd call the "magical realism" part of the series. Sometimes music is magical. One of my favorite parts from Volume 1 is a band who can render their audience unconscious with a particular song.

As with all great comics, the supporting cast is as interesting/likable as the hero. Here's a run-down of the folks in Scott's world, copied almost verbatim from the inside front cover of Vol.4.

Wallace Wells: (26 years old) the gay roommate; owns everything in the apartment
The apartment has no AC. Scott is too lazy to get up and get water.

Kim Pine: (23 years old) the smart one; has freckles; plays the drums in Sex Bob-omb; dated Scott in high school; dislikes lots of people, possibly everyone [Kim Pine is awesome.]

Knives Chau: (17 years old) the teenager; Chinese-Canadian; breifly dated scott [see Volume 1]; Sex Bob-omb's #1 fangirl
Knives Chau shouldn't be so chipper asking that question

Of course there are more, like Stephen Stills, who's the creative force of Sex Bob-omb, dates Julie, and rooms with Young Neil. I'd love to read stories about any and all of these characters. Once in a blue moon Mr. O'Malley will post a short strip on his webpage that focues on them.

This is why Kim moved from her old apartment.

Volume four opens a few months after the last one. It's summer. Scott and Ramona have been dating for about four months. Everybody keeps asking Scott if he's said the "L word" yet. Sex Bob-omb is not practicing or doing shows because they're recording (mostly Stephen Stills is recording). Scott is actually seriously looking for a job. Kim Pine moves into a different apartment. A mysterious guy with a samurai sword is trying to kill Scott. A girl from Scott's past comes to town to tempt him (she wears lots of short skirts and has flirty lashes). Of course one of Ramona's evil exes (number four, natch) shows up, but maybe to tempt Ramona, as well as fight Scott? Hmm? Maybe? Events are converging that will force Scott to get his shit together and -gasp- grow up a little.

Kim and Hollie chat while Stephen Stills carries a box on moving day.

There are some Zelda-themed dream sequences, too. But honestly i don't know a lot about Zelda, so i think those were lost on me.

Lisa, the girl from Scott's past.

I love this series. When i went to pick up my comics last week, i was in a really bad mood. Reading SPV4 completely changed it. It's that kind of book. It's really funny, it's quirky (in the good way), it's full of characters you automatically like, it has elements you'll recognize from your own life, and fantastic moments that are simply fun.

Bring on Volume Five!

*What province is Toronto in? Confession to Canadians: contrary to what some might have you believe, we Americans do love you, but we have no idea what your provinces are called. But don't feel too bad; we don't know where Delaware is, either. Is there still a Delaware?