Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Scott Pilgrim, Volume 2: Versus the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim is a 20-something slacker who has no job, is part of a band named Sex Bob-omb, and has two girlfriends, the high-school girl Knives-Chau, whom he met on the bus, and Ramona Flowers, a delivery girl for Amazon that he, quite literally, met in his dreams.

Scott has spent most of his life not growing up, but when he met Ramona, she made him want to change, at least a little. As part of his romance with her, he's been roped into fighting with Ramona's seven evil exes. He's already defeated one of them, but they are all lining up to take him on, and as a slacker-dude, he's not very well equipped to defeat them.

But when he tries to break up with Knives-Chau, she is horrified. She almost literally idolized Scott, and the news that he is breaking up with her for an older woman enrages her. She follows and spies on Ramona as soon as she finds out who she is, and asks her friends what Ramona has that she hasn't got. She calls Ramona fat and old, apparently not realizing that Ramona isn't really any older than Scott. But now, just as Scott has to deal with Ramona's exes, Ramona has to deal with Knives, who attacks her at the Public Library. They fight, and Ramona knocks Knives down, but Knives is determined to fight for her man.

Meanwhile, Scott has to fight Ramona's second evil ex, Lucas Lee, who has become a movie star. He defeats Scott very quickly, but when Scott asks Lucas to show off his hot shredding moves on a Skateboard, he challenges Lucas to ride the rails down a very dangerous set of stairs, and when Lucas wipes out, Scott scoops up the coins he gets for defeating him.

Meanwhile, Scott gets a call from Envy Adams, another of his ex-girlfriends, and she has a proposition for him and his band, to play an opening for her at their next concert. Scott is wary about accepting, because Envy is a user. But worse, she has a guy named Todd in her band, and he has the same name as one of Ramona's Ex-boyfriends. But it couldn't possibly be the same guy, right? Right...?

This book made me realize I was right to mistrust any character whose name is "Knives". I figured that she would end up causing problems for Scott and Ramona's relationship, and I was right. There is just no way to get around it, and it doesn't seem that she is done yet.

Scott remains his usual unlikeable self, but we get to see that he isn't as shallow as he sometimes seems. I am getting the sense that the evil exes of both characters are more there to depict their baggage- the same kind of baggage that everyone carries around from their past failed relationships. Only here, instead of being the hidden issues that suddenly slap you in the face, they are externalized into the exes themselves. By defeating the exes, you overcome the damage they did to your psyche, or you are able to get over the things they represent holding you back.

I am still enjoying this series, although Scott is a pain in the rear, he is starting to get a little better, and we see that he may be carrying baggage of his own. It's still not enough to make him likeable, but he is very persistent, and that gives him some charm, at least. Recommended.

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