Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life: So Good I Bought It Twice

I’m going to take a short break from all the board game talk to review a comic book. The Colour Edition of Scott Pilgrim Volume 1 came out last month, and I snagged a copy last week. Yes, I already own all 6 volumes of Scott Pilgrim, but the new edition befuddled me with its technicolour colouredness.

For those who don’t know what Scott Pilgrim is, here’s the quick rundown:

Scott Pilgrim is a lovable slacker, loser, and jerky jerk who wants to cruise through life and get with some ladies. Dates a high schooler (Knives Chau) and breaks her heart to be with the enigmatic Ramona Flowers. To maintain their relationship, he must defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes. Along the way there are plenty of video game and indie music references and his other friends try to live their life without too much interference from Scott’s crazy hijinks.

For the uninitiated:

The first volume sets up all the major characters and introduces the main plot hook of the seven evil exes. The basic premise of the book and the character interactions are interesting, but where this series really shines is in the execution. The fights with the first evil ex, one Matthew Patel, is not a boring old slugfest but a crazy display of mystical powers, demon hipster chicks, and a rhyme battle. The battle also includes video game elements like a “FIGHT!” announcement at the start, an air juggle combo meter, and a combo reversal which are all illustrated as if the characters are in a video game. Matthew Patel even turns into a pile of coins (albeit a small one) when he is defeated. What’s great about the way it’s done is that it’s played completely straight without trying to explain it away as a dream sequence or fantasy, and everyone else just takes it in stride and acts like it’s the most normal thing that could happen. Scott Pilgrim’s Toronto is some kind of magical crazy funland, unlike any place on this Earth. The action is manic and the jokes fly hard and fast and mostly hit spot on. Dialogue is very snappy and uses plenty of pop culture references and fourth wall breaking (see Scott’s comments about leaving the story about his job to the next volume). Some people will probably find the humour and “everything in the blender” set up weird and confusing, but I personally love everything about it. Like it says up top, I liked it so much I bought it twice.

(Quick aside, the above is one of my favourite pages of the book. I like caption jokes, and I just loved the bit about Wallace’s coat and Scott’s toothbrush.)

For the Scottaholics out there (not you, Knives):

I’ve been waiting to buy the colour edition ever since it was announced. I’ll miss the joke about Ramona’s hair being different colours in a black and white book, but the rest of it is pretty much all upside. The colours are solid and effective, fitting the tone of the art in the book really well. The palette is appropriately bright to fit the technicolour feel of Scott’s world. It’s slightly bigger in size than the old books, so that’s pretty nice as well. What really makes this edition worth it though are the extras included at the back of the book. There are early designs, sketches, reference photo comparisons and poster illustrations. There is also a very enlightening write up about how the story came to be and how Bryan Lee O’Malley came up withthe characters and plot. That last bit was worth the price of admission, and hey you get a free coloured comic book too! Same great Scott Pilgrim goodness that you got the first time but you get to exerciese your cone cells. Now you can turn your old Scott Pilgrim volumes into colouring books! (Thanks for the idea, Jeannie!).

This book gets a gushing 5 out of 5 Star Subspace Bags and everyone should go out and buy one now so I don’t have to loan my copy out to you Hao Ern you freeloading slacker.

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