Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
The second book in Bryan Lee O’Malley’s series of graphic novels opens with a flashback to a 16-year-old Scott being dragged into forming a band by friend-against-his-will Lisa Miller. It feels similar to a Hopeless Savages story until one day, Scott arrives at school to find everyone beaten up and his geography partner kidnapped by boys from a rival school. He fights his way through to rescue her, and the two start dating.
That video-game-style battle scene is typical of O’Malley’s blend of manga, game adventure, and postmodern sense of humor found in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. I liked the way the bad guy leader looked like a teenage John Lennon filtered through O’Malley’s style. Along similar lines, I wonder if Lisa’s name is an homage to Maura Tierney’s character on NewsRadio or just a coincidence.
Back in present day, Scott has to figure out what to tell Knives now that he’s in love with Ramona. When Ramona comes over for a date, Scott reveals hidden talents and unsuspected psychoses relating to the break-up of his last serious relationship. It turns out that the girl who really did a number on him is also in a band, one much more successful than his.
Meanwhile, actor Lucas Lee, Ramona’s second evil ex-boyfriend (which raises the question, is there a good ex-boyfriend out there, or by definition are all of them evil?), is coming to town. Gay roommate Wallace is playing a combination of advance scout and fighting trainer, helping Scott prepare. Ramona’s also got her own battles to fight, with one of Scott’s ex-girlfriends staging a ninja movie-style battle in the public library.
In short, it’s more of the same as book one, only better. Plus, it includes an illustrated recipe for vegan shepherd’s pie. More information on the series can be found at my review of the first book, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life.