Monday, September 1, 2014

Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together is the fourth volume of a six-volume work by Bryan Lee O’Malley. In reviewing other volumes of the series, I’ve mentioned that the story is a pilgrimage. In this volume, things start moving.

Nothing signals a figurative move like an actual move. Scott’s friend and bandmate, Kim, moves from her apartment into a house with some friends. One of these friends has sound editing equipment, so Scott’s band, Sex Bob-omb, moves from playing clubs to recording an album. Eventually, Scott is forced to move because the lease is up on the apartment he shares with Wallace.

The important moves in the series, though, are Scott’s stumbling from an extended adolescence toward adulthood. His internal challenges are represented by external challenges. In order to have a place to go when he leaves the apartment he shares with Wallace, he proposes to move in with Ramona. One can imagine how disastrous this might be in the state of their relationship at the start of the book; Scott must make an emotional move to Ramona and responsibility first.

This emotional move is achieved in several stages. Scott practices self-control by resisting the temptation for an easy, breezy summer fling with a woman he knew from school who has a crush on him. He takes on responsibility by getting his first job as a dishwasher at age 23.

His other conflicts are represented or resolved in combat. It wouldn’t be Scott Pilgrim without cool fight scenes. His relationship with Ramona is haunted by his not actually broken off relationship with Knives. Knives’ vengeful father hunts down and attacks Scott. In addition, another of Ramona’s evil exes arrives. It’s neat that he survives combat with Mr. Chau and defeats Roxie. The powerful actions he takes are to confess his love to Ramona, accept the baggage of her past, and treat Mr. Chau (an through him Knive’s) with respect.

Self-control, responsibility, love, acceptance, and respect are a decent set of virtues for a young man to practice. Scott is not perfect, but his journey isn’t to perfection, it’s to maturity.

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O’Malley, Bryan Lee. Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together. Portland, OR: Oni Press, 2007.