Six years ago, we were introduced to Scott Pilgrim and his Precious Little Life. Since then, Bryan Lee O’Malley has taken his characters on a journey of self-discovery, and as we’ve watched them grow up right before our eyes, they’ve become a part of our lives. With the sixth and final volume arriving in stores this week, our time with these characters comes to a close. After some 1200 pages, which is akin to sixty issues of a regular comic, it’s time to say goodbye to Scott Pilgrim and the gang, and though it’s not the best book in the series, Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour is a more than satisfying conclusion to a wonderful epic.
SCOTT PILGRIM, VOL. 6: SCOTT PILGRIM’S FINEST HOUR
Written by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Art by Bryan Lee O’Malley, John Kantz, and Aaron Ancheta
I admittedly didn’t get into the whole Scott Pilgrim craze until the time volume four came out. That said, once I was in, I was all in. While the complaints about Scott being an unlikeable character early in the series are true, they’re also unwarranted. Scott needs to be a jerk in order to grow up into the man he is by the conclusion of the story. If you’re able to look past Scott’s character flaws in the first book, and get into the second and third volumes of the book, you’ll find there’s a lot to like when it comes to Scott Pilgrim. Now, without delving too deeply into the story of this final chapter in the life of Scott Pilgrim, everything that’s been built up in volumes one through five finally comes to a head. Scott finally faces Gideon, Ramona’s final evil ex, in an epic throwdown that takes place across multiple planes of reality, and spans nearly 100 pages of the book. Aside from bringing closure to Scott’s personal story, nearly every plot thread and character are resolved as well, and O’Malley does a great job making sure there are no major lingering questions when you turn the final page.
Despite the heavy reliance on action in this book, the series’ trademark humor shines through. Scott’s obsession with video games and casual sex early on in the story make the most of incredibly awkward situations, and you’ll still spend time re-reading the book trying to find the constant nods and homages to pop culture, manga, anime, and video games O’Malley loves to include. As the franchise has progressed, O’Malley’s scripting and pacing has improved tremendously. Since he found his groove towards the end of book three, the final three stories have been incredibly focused, and though this sixth book is one giant climax, it never feels padded. It’s strange saying goodbye to these characters, but just as they’ve grown up and are ready to move on, so too is Bryan Lee O’Malley, and so too should we.
As great as the art has been, and as much as O’Malley has grown as an artist during these last few years, this final book actually feels less like the rest of the series artistically. Now that’s not to say the book looks bad by any means. O’Malley’s manga-influenced characters still look great, and his pages are just packed with emotion, but the inclusion of a separate artist (John Kantz) to do the background work takes away a bit of the charm and character the interiors had. Buildings are more realistic, but they look out of place when compared to the characters. It’s not that the city feels lifeless; it’s just that the city doesn’t feel like Scott’s anymore. The atmosphere change affects the tone very slightly, but never detracts from the overall reading experience. It’s extremely nitpicky, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. A third artist (Aaron Ancheta) was brought on for crowd scenes and inking assistance, which I’m assuming was so that the book would come out in time for San Diego Comic Con, and he did a very good job because I couldn’t tell his contributions from O’Malley’s.
Just like if my best friend was leaving for another country forever, I’m not really sure how to say goodbye to Scott and the gang. I’ve loved every single minute I spent with these characters, and watching them grow into adults has been one of the most memorable comic reading experiences I’ve ever had. There will likely not be another book quite like Scott Pilgrim, and it’s not going to be easy trying to fill the void. Thanks, Scott. I had a good time.