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First he jumped and then he looked: Graeme gets it together from 11/14

Graeme McMillan

Weirdly enough, the arrival of SCOTT PILGRIM GETS IT TOGETHER reminds me of the arrival of Oasis’ ill-fated third album, “Be Here Now” – Something that pop culture had collectively been holding its breath for while, at the same time, nurturing the backlash and secretly hoping for it to be a failure. Of course, the parallels fall apart when you consider that “Be Here Now” was an overblown, self-indulgent disaster fueled by cocaine and the uncomfortable love of Patsy Kensit, but nonetheless; it worked well enough to get me to a point where I can tell you that the fourth Scott Pilgrim book is Very Good indeed… if a little overblown and self-indulgent.

It’s self-indulgent in the best ways, though; there’re the video game logic and iconography, the wandering captions and everything else that you’ve come to expect from the series, but just… moreso than before, in some sense. It’s a slower book, as well; the book comes with its own sense of ennui and overfamiliarity in those familiar tricks and cheats which seems fitting, considering that the book deals with Scott recognizing and moving on from his stalled life and onto lots of new somethings. In fact, for a book with a title about getting things together, a lot of the book seems to be about things falling apart – Friendships, relationships, and living situations. I wonder how much of that comes from O’Malley’s own experience with this series in particular – Did he want to switch things up because we’re midway through the series, or because he was getting frustrated with the way things were to date?

Nonetheless, things do get switched up, and towards the end, the book gains the momentum and energy that’s been lacking earlier in time for a grand finale that’s everything you wanted and more – Knowingly sentimental and romantic in such a way that still feels genuine and earned. On the way there, you get O’Malley’s best art to date – much more confident than before, and in the final battle, bolder in his use of space and pacing – and some foreshadowing over Ramona’s true intentions (Interesting dream sequence, there…) to pull you through to the next book, at least. It’s very much a follow-on from the last book, which felt like a conclusion of something, in that it gives the character and series (and creator?) a new-found sense of direction, but also contains enough of what you liked before to satisfy that whole “what you wanted in the first place” thing.

But then again, I liked “Be Here Now,” as well, so what do I know?

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