July 29, 2009

Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness

This third volume in the Scott Pilgrim series starts up where volume 2 left off: the night that his ex-girlfriend, Envy, and her band, Clash at Demonhead, are performing. There are lots of informative flashbacks, particularly those detailing Scott's relationship with Envy (a.k.a. Natalie) back when they were freshmen in college.

In the present, the next evil ex-boyfriend of Ramona's that Scott must fight turns out to be Todd, the bassist for Clash at Demonhead. He is a formidable opponent because, Envy informs Scott (after he's been thrown through a brick wall), Todd is a vegan - "graduated top of his class from Vegan Academy and everything." Scott and his friends are understandably skeptical about the fact that being vegan could give one superpowers, but Todd explains that most people only use 10% of their brains because the other 90% is "full of curds and whey." Vegans, on the other hand, can access 100% of the power of their brains.

All the wonderful characters from the first two books are here, including Scott's gay roommate Wallace, Scott's teenage ex-girlfriend, Knives Chau (who is now dating "Young" Neil), Stephen Stills, and Kim (Scott's high school girlfriend). Bizarre and highly entertaining events follow, including an encounter between Knives and Envy's drummer (who has a bionic arm and knocks the highlights out of Knives' hair), combat at a frightening discount store called Honest Ed's, a costumed band member extravaganza, gigantic mallets and cat fights, an incriminating gelato, and craters being created on the moon (to impress girls, of course).

This series is surprising and intelligent, with quirky, interesting characters that spring to life through their inimitable dialog and O'Malleys' arresting illustrations. I lose myself in these stories, happily suspending my disbelief because the plot and characters are immensely creative and never, ever predictable. Hanging out with Scott Pilgrim and his friends is the reading equivalent of a trip to an amusement park.

Books in the Scott Pilgrim series:
1. Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life
2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
3. Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness
4. Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe

Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness (#3 in the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series) by Bryan Lee O'Malley (Oni Press, 2006)

Also reviewed at:
Racing Entropy: "Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness not only raises the bar on the previous two books, it pretty much blows them out of the water - which is saying something."

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