Get It Together! The Scott Pilgrim Chronicles - Part 2

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Welcome back to the second edition of Get It Together! A six-part series essentially acting as a game of catchup for all things Scott Pilgrim. It's our effort in making sure you, our faithful readers, are in the know and fully prepared for this summer's  film adaptation. Twilight Shmi-light, this is the saga that should be exciting the masses.

*Spoiler Warning*

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World

By now we know that in order to be with Ramona, Scott has to battle the League of Evil Exes (every time I read that I say Evil League of Evil in my head), comprising of her seven previous boyfriends. In the climax of volume one, Scott fights his first opponent, Matthew Patel. Before Scott's band takes stage, Matthew storms in and what ensues is a tonal shift into a Street Fighter-esque extravaganza as Patel summons demonic scene girls to fight the entirety of Sex Bob-omb. The band fights as a single unit and Scott delivers the final blow, besting Matthew and collecting the experience points from his first Big Boss.

From here on, the classic Nintendo side-scrolling vernacular is interwoven into this unorthodox 'boy meets girl' tale. It's an organic and refreshing twist that continues throughout further installments.

Volume two starts out with a flashback of Scott as a 16-year-old at the "St. Joel's Catholic High School" and the formation of his first band. This device not only grounds the book's fantastical nature but also gives the characters' seemingly blasé acceptance of it credence. We witness Scott's first "Bully Battle" to rescue his now drummer, Kim Pine. Kim and Scott began a relationship which isn't fully fleshed out, but teased as important for a later date.

After the lengthy rewind in time, this edition focuses on Scott's acceptance of his mission and preparation for the next battle. Our hero officially accepts his calling. Throughout the book, Scott is once again used as a conduit for the supporting cast, with highlights on his roommate Wallace and Scott's soon to be ex-girlfriend, 17-year-old Knives Chau. Her character, who seemed to have run its course in the first chapter, evolves into a force with which to be reckoned. Knives is a true Scott-aholic, challenging Ramona at every turn for his affections.

A really fun scene involving the whole gang has to do with the preparation of a vegan meatloaf, including breaking the fourth wall with "how to" cooking directions. O’Malley blurs the lines of reality and fiction for the reader subtly and comically, even having characters of the story drop lines regarding the book’s structure and actual format. It elicits a familial feeling, like the reader is taking part of the adventure. It’s a slick tactic and in no way garish or cheap. If Ramona's past stalking Scott wasn't enough, he's also being haunted by his own set of baggage. When a powerful figure puts him in a near comatose state with just a phone call, there's plenty reason to fret.

Envy Adams, the one who caused the most damage to his heart, comes back into the picture. She offers Sex Bob-omb an opening set before her immensely popular band, The Clash at Demonhead. What’s a guy to do? Take a good gig, even though it’s a deceptive ploy by a vindictive ex or decline, let down your band and let that ex know she can still get to you, which she clearly does? This is such a ridiculous situation that rings all too true for anyone that’s ever been dumped. Therein lies much of this story’s charm. It’s a fantasy that captures the honesty in the emotional state of young adults. It’s incredibly easy to latch onto with your heart, which takes over for your brain questioning all the inherent silliness.

An ongoing theme in this edition is definitely that of exposition and setup, putting the pieces in place for a louder and more emotionally satisfying third part. We meet new foes, witness old alliances and get a better look at the large world O'Malley has created. It's here that you really get the sense that this story is ultimately larger than Scott and Ramona. They're merely the filter through which it's all presented. Every one of these characters can tell their own story and in turn, add durability to Scott's unique predicament.

The stage is set, pasts are revealed, battles fought and won. It all comes to a head with a cliffhanger revealing Pilgrim's next challenger, which promises to be Scott's greatest battle yet (or at least until the next volume).

This edition delivers much of the same charm as the first while still moving the story in fun and unexpected ways. O'Malley's handle on these characters is apparent as he reveals more about them, not only through flashback, but their comfortable and natural interactions. His art also takes a step forward, becoming more nuanced and confident, not only in character designs, but also the panel layout. The eye flows from page to page with such ease that the total read time seems more brisk. That's actually a compliment. There's nothing beleaguering or a chore about this book. It constantly pays off. I'd gladly pay copious amounts of money for an Absolute-style, oversized format just so I can pour over the art a little better (hint, hint Oni Press).

If you've made it this far, then you're hooked. There's no use denying it. I can assure you that it keeps getting better. There’s more of the same humor with additional layers to the characters and ever increasing stakes. How can you resist?

So, go grab Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness and meet us back here next time. Let's make this journey together!

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is available from Oni Press priced $11.99.

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