Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World review

Following the success of the first book, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World continues the story of Bryan Lee O'Malley's titular character and his quest to defeat Ramona V. Flowers' evil ex-boyfriends. This second volume of Scott Pilgrim is published by Oni Press and originally released in 2005.

My biggest gripe with the first book was that the back cover description was very misleading in that it said the book was about Scott Pilgrim fighting off Ramona's evil ex-boyfriends, when in fact that entire premise doesn't even appear until the final pages of the book. Thankfully, with this second volume, that actually is the overbearing story this time around, so you no longer feel as mislead as you may have been.

But while the bulk of the book is about Scott's relationship with Ramona, the first (I'll estimate) 6th of the book actually takes in the past, when Scott was just 16; delving into the details of how Scott and Kim Pine met, started their first band, Sonic & Knuckles (yes, the video game references are still in plain sight), and eventually how they became separated. It's nice to get some back story on these character you only know so much about in the first book, and I'm hoping the following volumes do the same.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World continues the first book perfectly with Bryan Lee O'Malley's comedic yet surprisingly real writing. Despite awkward situations, and somewhat over the top circumstances, the characters always have a feeling like they're real people with real emotions, and I think that what makes the series so appealing.

As for the comedic side, Vs. The World is certainly more over the top in its presentation and writing. There's a lot more in terms of intentional jokes and references that you're clearly supposed to get. That specifically refers to the gaming humor; i.e. Scott and Kim's first band, Sonic & Knuckles, Scott's association with "items" to Mario power-ups, and not to mention the opening artwork that resembles the start screen to Bonk's Adventure on TurboGrafx 16. It's the type of humor that if you get it, it's really funny, but if you don't it probably doesn't phase you.

One of the most appealing parts of the first book for me was Bryan Lee O'Malley's unique, manga-inspired art style. So thankfully, that's still part of what makes this second book so appealing. But, that's not to say it stay's the same, as I personally noticed a lot of improvement.

Where the first book's presentation was arguably simple in terms of its design, Vs. The World kicks the artwork up a notch with more dynamic panels and varied character design (the latter of which the first book lacked). There's more line work, new angles, better use of light and shade and overall it just looks better. But this is probably going to be the more subjective aspect of any of the books, either way, I liked it.

Overall, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a definite improvement over Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, in terms of story, writing and artwork. However, that's not to say it's vastly improved as a lot of the book is just more of the same, just refined. I'm mainly pleased that the series now has it's story set and I'm under the impression that I won't be mislead like I was the first time around. None the less, I can't wait to get into volume three, and I suppose that feeling is all that matters.

Overall Score: 9.2/10

For more on Scott Pilgrim visit: scottpilgrim.com
For more on Bryan Lee O'Malley visit: radiomaru.com

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