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Friday Fun! (Scott Pilgrim, How I Met Your Mother)

July 30, 2010 6 comments

Hello my lovely readers!  I hope you all had great weeks and got some time in for reading.  To my fellow Scott Pilgrim fans, I hope you got your hands on the final installment already.  If not, best get to it before the movie comes out next month, eh?  I don’t know if you’re aware, but the movie adaptation of the graphic novels was started before O’Malley had decided how the story was going to end, so the script writers kind of wrote their own ending.  O’Malley says he’s happy with the film ending, but I’m curious to see if I will be as well.  I was surprisingly happy with the ending of the graphic novel series.  Generally I can find something to gripe about at the end of series, but not this time.  I’m not sure if the movie can live up to it, but oh the third trailer has me really hopeful.

I was sick the beginning of the week with some sort of stomach thing, so I wound up watching a lot of tv.  I started watching How I Met Your Mother and in that sick haze, wound up getting almost all the way through the first four seasons.  It’s not a bad show.  A few of the episodes are hilarious, such as Slap-Bet.  The rest are at least entertaining.  I have to admit, though, if I knew the main characters in real life, I would absolutely hate them.  That doesn’t make it a bad show, but I doubt that’s the writers’ intention, since they based two of them on themselves.  Obviously the womanizing Barney is a character we’re supposed to love to hate, but I don’t think that’s the case with the rest of them.  Honestly, they’re all basically those people who just pick on anyone who isn’t exactly like them and apparently have no actual goals in life or morals.  It seems like kind of an empty existence for characters who are in their late 20s to early 30s, but oh well.  It’s good entertainment, but Friends is still better.

You can tell I spent a substantial portion of the week in bed, as I’m mostly yakking to you about tv shows and movies. Hm….oh! One of my pepper plants appears to finally have buds! I may have blossoms soon! I’m rather stoked.

Are any of you guys Scott Pilgrim fans?  How do you feel about the upcoming movie?  Any other thoughts on How I Met Your Mother?  I hope you all have lovely weekends!

Book Review: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Graphic Novel) (Series, #6)

July 26, 2010 3 comments

Scott Pilgrim holding a sword.Summary:
Ramona Flowers disappeared,and Scott Pilgrim has spent the last four months of his life wallowing in depression in an apartment his parents paid for playing videogames and avoiding fighting the last evil ex, Gideon.  His friends have got on with their lives, and they finally get around to trying to get Scott to face up to his past.  Will he fight Gideon?  Will he have casual sex with any of his exes?  Will Ramona show back up?

Review:
I loved this book so much.  It’s one of those endings to a series that makes you like the previous entries in the series even more.  I’m going to have a hard time writing this review without devolving into a bunch of random squeeing, so please bare with me.

O’Malley successfully ties up all the ends without being too cute.  The answer to what the subspace is makes sense and fits in with the story well.  It also doesn’t talk down to the reader’s intelligence at all.  Similarly, why Scott likes Ramona so much gets answered.  Them dating just makes a lot more sense after reading this book.

The action and the gaming and pop culture shout-outs that fans loved in the first five books are still present here.  I’m particularly fond of O’Malley’s choice to use 8-bit type drawing to depict characters’ overly idealistic memories of past relationships.  All of the other gaming references are still there as well, such as where characters get their weapons from.

O’Malley’s drawing has noticeably improved this time around.  My main complaint in previous books of the female characters being hard to tell apart has been addressed.  I had no issue telling them apart this time around.  Plus, O’Malley still pays attention to background details that make it worth looking closely at the scenes, such as setting one scene in a bookstore that’s going out of business with signs that say “Please Help Oh God” in the background.

I know some people won’t like how little attention is paid to secondary characters in this volume.  That didn’t bother me, because I was so caught up in Scott’s storyline, and it is called Scott Pilgrim after all.  It’s not like the secondary characters aren’t there.  It’s just that their personal storylines get tied up quickly.  It didn’t bother me, but it might bother some.

The only thing that bothered me at all was that there is one section of the book where the pages go blank for a bit.  I’ve always felt that’s a trite story-telling mechanism, and I don’t like the message it sends.  However, I just flipped past them and continued on my way instead of taking the dramatic pause I assume we are supposed to take.

These are really minor flaws when it comes to a series like this.  It could have easily fallen apart or failed to tie up the important questions in the end.  Instead, O’Malley addresses what is a common issue for a lot of 20-somethings in a creative manner, fleshed out with gaming and pop culture references and humor that makes it entertaining while simultaneously being touching.  I highly recommend the entire series to 20-something lovers of graphic novels or older graphic novel enthusiasts who can still relate to what it is to be in your 20s.

5 out of 5 stars

Source: Amazon

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Previous Books in Series:
Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life
Volume 2: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Volume 3: Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness
Volume 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together
Volume 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe

Review of first 5 books

Book Review: Scott Pilgrim By Bryan Lee O’Malley (Graphic Novel) (Series, #1-5)

April 13, 2010 7 comments

Orange and red book cover with Scott Pilgrim pointing his finger.Summary:
Canadian Scott Pilgrim is 23 years old and has a case of what to do with myself quarter life crisis.  He’s living in a studio apartment with Wallace (who is very gay), dating a 17 year old, and doesn’t have a job, but at least he’s got his band.  Then he meets American Ramona Flowers and falls for her.  Dating her comes with a catch, though.  He’s got to defeat her 7 evil exes who really seem to enjoy jumping him when he least expects it.

Review:
Scott Pilgrim takes typical 20-something ennui and spices it up with a heavy dose of ninja fighting and videogame references, hitting its target audience dead-on.  It’s the perfect mix of connection over real life issues and over generational references.  It’s more than just a day in the life of Scott mixed with fighting evil exes, though.  There’s a mystery to the whole situation.  Why is Scott such a good fighter?  Why does he fall so quickly for Ramona when nothing seems that special about her?  What is up with Ramona anyway?  It had me wishing that the sixth volume was out already so I could find out.  (It comes out this summer).

The art is relatively average.  Some of the characters and scenes are really well-drawn, but some of the minor characters blend together, particularly the women.  I was left really confused about some of the women until later in the series where O’Malley put together a listing of all the characters.  Even then, I thought they looked a bit too much alike.  On the other hand, the art handles delicate scenes like sex and fighting really well, so it all balances out.

What really makes the series, though, is the creativity of the exes and the battles.  They range from skateboarding to evil robots at concerts to races through value warehouse stores to (my absolute favorite) vegans with superpowers.  Seriously, they have superpowers because they’re vegans.  It’s the most awesome idea!  Plus, there is a recipe for vegan shepherd’s pie given in the context of the story that I absolutely must try.

I definitely recommend this series to all 20-somethings, videogamers, and ninja-lovers.  Plus, the movie version starring Michael Cera is coming out this summer, so you may as well whet your appetite for it by reading the books first.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Borrowed

Books in Series:
Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life
Volume 2: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Volume 3: Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness
Volume 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together
Volume 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe
Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour
(release date: July 20, 2010)

Buy It