October 12, 2004

Great Scott!

So it looks like Yet Another Comics Blog has some less-than-stellar words for Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1. That's interesting because many other voices were recommending it at PreCur's "Name me a comic that doesn't suck" post. (Incidentally, there's a great recap of Kindaichi Case Files Vols. 2 & 3 over there.) Anyway, different people will feel different things about Scott depending on how they approach the comic. I kinda knew, from earlier reviews, that there was supposed to be this "Dragonball Z-esque fight sequence" towards the end. So when I got to that, I saw it coming, and I was in the frame of mind to see slacker-rockers duking it out with lots of speedlines. (The rhyming dialogue caught me off-guard, but that also totally rocked my face.) The thing is, the whole fight sequence throws you for a loop. For some people, it works, and for others it's just "HUHWHAT?"

Personally, I thought the fight sequence was great. It sparked up what might have otherwise been another dreary, weepy-boy comic. It was like Bryan O'Malley was standing there, saying, "Ah, look at how sensitive my character is, he is having girl issues, and OH BY THE WAY KRAKOOOM! he has to battle SOME GUY using the power of GOODNESS AND LIGHT!" It certainly delves into campy fighting manga territory, but Bryan is doing it with a knowing wink, the kind of twentysomething attitude that informs most of the 80's kiddiepopculture nostalgia these days. He's intentionally churning out cheesy material ... probably because he just felt like it.

I'm not trying to justify the shift of mood in Scott Pilgrim, I'm just guessing why the author might have done it and stating that I liked it. I can understand why the ending would be disappointing to someone who was enjoying the slice-of-life aspect of the book. However, I'm the kind of guy who likes to develop stories along weird, tangent-riding paths, so that something will happen and then something completely unrelated will happen and everyone continues about their merry lives as if this were natural. So I can sympathize with O'Malley's choice of direction, even if it does flout the principles of good storytelling. If he'd simply had Scott and Knives and Ramona get into some kind of confrontation (which I guess is what would have happened in a more conventional storyline), it probably wouldn't have left me laughing like the fight scene did.


Kevin Melrose said...

I enjoyed the over-the-top, video-game-meets-manga the fight scene, too. It's what pushed me from just *really liking* SCOTT PILGRIM to *loving* it.

6:02 PM  

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