Saturday, October 09, 2010

Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim is in his early 20's, a slacker who actively resists growing up or even getting more mature. He lives with a gay roommate who owns most of the furniture and stuff in their rented apartment. He has no job and just drifts through life.

But Scott seems to have reverted even more, because now he's dating a seventeen year old High School girl named Knives Chau who he met on a bus. He doesn't seem to mind listening to her talk about all the angst and drama of high school, because in her eyes, he is totally cool. Not only is he cool, but he's in a band called Sex Bo-omb that plays passable, if not good music, and he seems to be happy.

But Stephen and Kim, his band-mates, don't seem to feel the same about Scott's new girlfriend. They think it's disturbing that someone his age should have a girlfriend who is six years younger than he is. But Scott doesn't feel that he's done anything wrong by going out with a girl he met on the bus, and she was talking with her mother at the time. He brings his girlfriend, Knives-Chau, to meet the members of his band, Sex Bo-omb, and she is completely enthralled by them and their performance.

Unfortunately for Scott, soon after, he starts running into a strange girl in his dreams. She doesn't hang around or do anything really strange, she just moves on through whatever is happening in his current dream and disappears. Scott is mystified as to why he is having a dream about a girl- the same girl, when he is already in a relationship.

But Scott doesn't think she is anything but a dream, until he sees her in real life and sets up a meeting. The girl, Ramona Flowers, works as a delivery girl for an online retailer, and one of their secrets for fast delivery is traveling through people's dreamscapes. Scott is lucky, or unlucky, enough to have a convenient headspace for Ramona to travel around in. He meets her by buying stuff from the company, and since she's the local delivery girl, she delivers it to him. But when he finally bumps into her at a party, he asks her out, and nearly ends up spending the night with her when he walks her home from their date. And yet he can't confess that he's fallen in love with Ramona to Knives-Chau.

And then, one night at a Sex Bo-omb concert, a strange man appears and challenges Scott to a fight. Matthew Patel is Ramona's first, evil ex, and he won't let Scott date her unless he defeats Patel in battle. Apparently, this is nothing new for Ramona, who has seven of these evil exes just waiting to take Scott on. But can Scott defeat Matthew Patel, and gain some coins (and the love of Ramona) in the process? Or will he decide it's all too much and leave her alone? Can Scott grow up and become an adult, or will he choose to be a slacker-dude all his life? Now's the time to decide!

Okay, I have to admit, I only became interested in this after hearing about the movie (not *seeing* the movie, because I don't want to until after I have read the source material. It's usually better that way.), and then I had to wait a really long time for the first volume to come in, because virtually everyone in the library system apparently had the same idea, just as with the Percy Jackson books and the Wimpy Kid novels, which were impossible to find this summer.

So when I read it, I had only a few ideas of what to expect. Scott. Ramona. Evil exes. Battles. The whole nine yards. But the story is more than that. Scott, as the story opens, is still acting like a kid despite being a nominal adult. Even in the apartment he shares with his gay roommate, Wallace, he's only contributed a poster to the decor and doesn't even have a real bed, sleeping in the mattress on the floor. Wallace owns just about everything in the apartment, but he lets Scott use it. Scott is going to have to really step up to the plate to date Ramona successfully, and part of that will be dumping Knives-Chau.

Although, that name is quite disturbing. Will she end up being an evil ex of Scott's? Given her name, it seems quite probable that she might be. I mean, what reasonable mother names their child "Knives"? This reminds me of Trigun and Vash's brother, Millions Knives. As someone once remarked, "Yeah, with a name like that, he'd be sure to grow up happy and sane! NOT." But even if she accepts it gracefully, Scott has a long way to go to make a woman want to be his girlfriend. So even if Scott seems happy with the status quo, can he change to get Ramona, or will he lose her because of his problems in facing maturity?

I don't know. I have heard the movie's ending was different from that of the graphic novels, but since I have studiously avoided spoiling the end of the movie for myself, I am still interested in reading the rest of the graphic novels, and hope to get them soon from the library. I'll certainly be looking forward to it. This is a good graphic novel. Nothing that is going to blow your socks off, but solid and fun to read. Recommended.

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