Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life - Bryan Lee O'Malley
Scott Pilgrim is an aimless twenty-something in a rock band that's not really very good. He shares a bed with his gay room-mate and is obsessing over one girl while dating another. Oh, and that first girl is using a sub-space portal in his head to deliver packages for Amazon.ca.
Lee O'Malley has a perfect ear for hip, self-aware, snappy dialogue, something he put to excellent use in his earlier Lost at Sea. In many ways, I think Scott Pilgrim is sharper and funnier, with its self-deprecating humour and constant video game references. And then you get to the last act, which sees the main plot arc kick into gear in a sequence that's kind of like the first moment in a musical when everyone starts singing, only the rules are taken from a fighting game instead.
It's a sequence that I'm certain will be amazing in Edgar Wright's upcoming film adaptation, but it seems a little rushed, and for something that should really be setting up the plot of this whole series, it leaves a lot of important questions unanswered. Lee O'Malley doesn't seem like the kind of guy to write about a woman as a passive trophy to be won by fighting her ex-boyfriends, and yet that's undeniably the set-up we're left with by the end of this volume. I'd like to imagine that future instalments acknowledge and subvert this, but as will be the case with most new readers, I only have the first one to judge.
It's weird, because, as I've mentioned frequently before, I'm usually all for mixing up the mundane and surreal, but the impression I've got from this first Scott Pilgrim book is that I much prefer the moments when it's being down-to-earth to when it's hyperactively adhering to old-school video game tropes.