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 Gets It Together is the fourth book in the Scott Pilgrim comic series by Bryan Lee O’Malley. When we last left Scott he had just beaten Evil Ex #3 – Todd Ingram, former psychic vegan – and bade farewell to the unbelievable bitch Envy Adams as she left town. Things seem pretty good for our hero, but he still has Evil Exes to fight, and he hasn’t been able to say the L-word to Ramona yet. No, not “lesbian”. Will Scott win the day? I think we all know the answer to that one, but it’s the journey that matters!
Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together serves as the introductory chapter to the second trilogy of comics, and as a result it has a much slower start than volumes 1-3, packed with loads of character development. We meet Scott and Ramona again several months after the events of Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness. The Evil Exes have been leaving them alone for the past while and summer has hit Toronto. But crisis is never too far away, as Scott is still unemployed, and when his landlord tells him that he and Wallace’s lease is coming to an end he is forced to finally seek out a job. While hanging around the mall, Scott runs into Lisa Miller, a friend of his from high school whom Scott always felt chemistry with, but never asked out. Meanwhile, Kim moves in with some friends of hers, one of whom has his own recording equipment, and Stephen Stills becomes totally obsessed with recording a Sex Bob-omb album. Knives’ father, samurai sword in hand, begins following Scott as he gets a job in the kitchen of the restaurant where Stephen works, but the real bombshell drops when Scott is working and spots Ramona talking with a strange, chubby blonde half-ninja girl…WHO TURNS OUT TO BE ONE OF RAMONA’S EXES! What follows is a solid half a book of fights. Scott and the ninja girl, Roxie Richter, fight, Scott and Ramona fight, Ramona and Roxie fight, Scott, Roxie and Knives’ dad fight…it’s a pretty action-packed second half, and if you found the first half a bit on the slow side, the second half definitely makes up for it. The most significant event of this epic series of battles is that Scott finally works up the courage to tell Ramona he loves her, getting +9999 experience points as a result and unlocking the power of love, which manifests itself in the form of a flaming katana! Scott defeats Roxie and convinces Knives’ father that he’s not such a bad guy, and the issue ends rather abruptly with Scott and Ramona living together, musing about the next pair of Evil Exes…twins whom Ramona dated at the same time!
As I said, the one major event that occurs in this volume is Scott’s confession of love to Ramona, thereby granting him his flaming sword. This is where all the video game references have been leading – to Scott finally “levelling up” and becoming a man instead of just a kid. It’s a great moment, and perfectly placed in this, the first book of the second trilogy, because it shows us that Scott has once again grown and won’t be the quite the same wimpy slacker from the first three volumes. Scott mans up and gets what he wants – he moves in with Ramona, gets a sword to fight the next exes with, and is gainfully employed for the first time since we’ve met him. This is not a side of Scott that we have seen before.
More of Ramona’s past comes to light with the revelation that she is slightly bi-curious, and the appearence of Roxie is an interesting twist. Up until this volume, Ramona has only ever referred to her exes as Evil Ex-Boyfriends, and it shows that she is a bit embarassed or perhaps ashamed of her past sexual experimentation. The fact that she kept this from Scott is interesting, since she knew Scott would eventually have to fight Roxie anyway. But it’s totally in keeping with what we know of Ramona to have her not reveal a crucial piece of information until it has already made itself known. She likes to seem mysterious and alluring, but at the same time she’s obviously pretty ashamed of her past. Another odd little occurence, which is no doubt planting the seed for a future encounter is when Scott finds himself in subspace after being pursued by Knives’ father and wanders into Ramona’s mind. He sees her on her knees in front of an evil-looking throne, upon which sits a man masked in shadow (the elusive Gideon, perhaps?). Ramona wears a garter belt, kinky stockings and black heels, and is both alarmed and furious that Scott has suddenly seen her like this. She insists that he forget what he saw, but he, and we, won’t forget anytime soon.
The plot device of subspace is an effective one, for it allows us to see into the characters’ subconsciouses, but also allows other characters to peer into eachothers’ dreams and thoughts. This provides plenty of opportunities for drama caused by people stumbling into eachothers’ minds and seeing too much, as in the moment shown above. (Click the image for a better view)
Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together provides a lull in the action before getting right back into the mayhem we’ve come to expect from the Scott Pilgrim comics. By taking the chaos, battles and cartoonishness down several notches, we get to see the characters return to equilibrium after so much insanity. This is the Kill Bill vol. 2 of the Scott Pilgrim saga, and it’s a really great instalment that serves as the calm just before the storm.
5 out of 5