Scott Pilgrim is a six-book series in both black & white and colour editions (I had the black and white ones). It’s about Scott, a pretty immature, lazy guy in his early twenties who lives in a one-room flat with his friend Wallace and plays in his band Sex Bob-omb. He dreams about a girl on roller skates delivering parcels, and then opens the door to find her there, with the parcel. She’s Ramona Flowers – and she has seven evil exes that Scott must defeat if he’s going to stay in a relationship with her.
I’m not a big superhero fan, but I liked the superhero / video game vibe in Scott Pilgrim, and that all the characters acted as if the weird stuff was totally normal. My favourites in the series were the middle books – 3, 4 & 5. In those, there’s more about the secondary characters, and I didn’t find the bits purely focused on Scott so annoying. I was disappointed with the final book, though, perhaps because there was very little of the secondary characters, but also because the final showdown felt a bit anticlimactic.
Scott Pilgrim is the least interesting and most annoying character in the series. I have no idea why Ramona goes out with him. He’s supposed to be annoying, but it meant I rarely rooted for him when I think I was supposed to. His supposed ‘growth’ through the series isn’t really that as he doesn’t actually change, and he always lands on his feet without really trying. For example, towards the end he doesn’t have anywhere to live, but his parents magic out of nowhere, pay for a flat for him, then magic back into nowhere. It’s a minor thing but it’s lazy story-telling and bugged me.
The artwork is ok; it didn’t jump out at me as particularly special, though I liked some of the art and panel work in number 3 during the flashback sections, and I liked the cutesy versions of the characters in Scott’s video game dreams. I did have an issue with some of the character drawing. I am terrible with faces (seriously, I sometimes can’t tell if identical twins are even related, even though they have the same face) and I found some of the characters, particularly some of the female ones, quite hard to tell apart at times. It seemed as though O’Malley had one ‘look’ and just didn’t / couldn’t adapt it enough for the number of characters he included.
All that sounds like I hated it. I didn’t – it’s an enjoyable enough series, especially in the middle, but it just didn’t live up to what I’d hoped. The film (which I saw first and liked) does a good job of condensing the series, leaving in the humour, and making Scott a bit less annoying. If you liked the film, give the books a try, but, if you didn’t, I don’t think the books will change your mind.