Warning: This review ABSOLUTELY contains spoilers for both the upcoming film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and the entire Scott Pilgrim comic book saga.
Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness is the third volume in Bryan Lee O’Malley’s six-part Scott Pilgrim epic that follows the trials and tribulations of the relationship between Scott Pilgrim, 23 years old (guy in a suit purchased at Value Village), and Ramona Flowers, age unknown (wants to get the hell out of here ASAP). When we last left our hero he, Ramona and his bandmates in Sex Bob-omb were attending a show being put on by The Clash at Demonhead, lead by the unbelievable bitch Envy Adams. Envy is Scott’s ex-girlfriend, who left him for Todd Ingram, bassist and psychic vegan, who in turn happens to be Ramona’s ex-boyfriend…and therefore Scott’s third Evil Ex rival! Let’s see what will happen next!
This volume is so jam-packed full of awesomeness that I don’t even know where to start, but I suppose the beginning is a good place. Following Scott and Ramona’s revelation that their exes are dating eachother, the show concludes and the gang wait around for the appearence of Envy Adams (rating: 100%). Scott notices a glowing save point in the corner and almost makes it to it, but Envy appears and he’s immediately distracted. They all go to a backstage lounge to hang out awkwardly until, tired of all the passive aggressive glances, Scott finally lunges at Todd. But when Todd uses vegan telekinesis to shoot Scott through a brick wall and into the trash, Scott realizes it’s going to take more than just fighting skills to defeat his enemy. Scott and Ramona leave and find Wallace, drunk, at a nearby Pizza Pizza. Wallace has a date, so Scott stays with Ramona and they finally have some time together. The location of the showdown with Todd is deemed to be Honest Ed’s, an enormous dollar-and-dime store located in downtown Toronto. Todd is so overwhelmed by the glory and horror of Honest Ed’s that Scott manages to defeat him after Todd demolishes the building with a psychic explosion!
Time passes as the big show approaches, which Sex Bob-omb is still opening for in spite of all the fighting that has been going on. Ramona discovers that Todd is cheating on Envy with Lynette, Clash at Demonhead’s drummer, and it is revealed that Todd isn’t a vegan either – he’s only pretending to be one! As Scott prepares to go onstage, Ramona and Envy begin exchanging bitchy dialogue and pretty soon a fight breaks out. Scott intervenes, there’s an enormous multi-page spanning battle, then out of nowhere the Vegan Police show up and take away Todd’s psychic powers for violating their code of conduct. Sex Bob-omb plays their show, and the book ends with Envy leaving town. It’s a hell of a volume!
As with Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Bryan Lee O’Malley has once again increased the cartoonishness of the proceedings, but in a way that seems natural to the story. This subtle upping of the stakes with each volume makes all of the wacky elements seem natural as they are introduced. Somehow, by this point, a concept as crazy as psychic veganism doesn’t seem out of place. The video game references have been occurring more frequently as well, with save points and extra lives popping into existence out of nowhere. The save point is particularly clever; I know there are moments in life where I wish I could have saved in case I needed to try them over!
It could just be because I’m a Canadian, but I really love Scott Pilgrim’s Toronto setting. I’ve been to Toronto many times and know the city fairly well, so seeing locations like Dundas Square portrayed in such an epic and insane story makes me grin due to my familiarity with them. The fight in Honest Ed’s is one of my absolute favourites of the series – I, like Scott and Todd, have experienced the awe and terror that is Honest Ed’s. It’s just cool to see places you recognize in pieces of fiction that you enjoy.
The flashbacks in this volume are plentiful, and we find out basically everything there is to know about Scott and Envy’s history. We get some of Ramona and Todd’s history, too, and a brief bit of Envy and Todd’s backstory. It’s almost soap opera-like how all these characters’ lives are interconnected, but there’s a real element of truth to it as well. People from the same region tend to know eachother, and it’s never a stretch believing the stories behind the relationships that have formed in the Scott Pilgrim universe. As a result, I never find myself bored by the flashbacks in these books, because I always want to know more about the characters, and in finding out more they become more like people I know. As I said in my review of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: the characters all feel like fully-formed, real people. I wonder how many characters are based on people from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s past. Before I get off the subject of flashbacks, I should mention a standout element of a few of them – the way Todd blasts holes in the moon to prove his love for both Envy and Ramona. It’s such a random little detail, but now I’ll never look at the moon quite the same.
Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness is by far the best Scott Pilgrim volume yet, which is saying a lot, because the first two were outstanding. It’s as though the best parts of the first two volumes were condensed into an extract of pure awesome and then poured into this one. There are terrific fights, great banter, top-notch character interactions…it’s all quite boring to gush about. And honestly, there’s no sense in me driving the point home any further. If you’ve read to volume three in this series, you’re probably going to stick with it until the very end. If you haven’t read the first two volumes…what the heck are you doing reading this review?
5 out of 5