I’ve been waiting for this book for a while now. Not just since the end of volume five, but since around the end of book three really. I mean, it’s an amazing series and I don’t really want it to end, but I’ve been anxious to see what the end product would be as a singular entity; if creator Bryan Lee O’Malley could pull off five volumes that continuously knocked it out of the park. Each individual book can be viewed as an accomplishment in and of itself, but the series as a whole is an amazing work of graphic storytelling with rich character arcs that are becoming less and less the norm nowadays.
I think that’s what really draws me in with this series. Sure it’s fun and the humor is great but it’s the intricacies of the character arcs are what keep me coming back. O’Malley makes the reader care about the characters in such a manner that we can be honestly surprised by the turns their story takes and find ourselves more engrossed with the developments than the next video-game inspired fight to come down the pike.
That sums up volume six easily. While we’ve been anticipating the Scott/Gideon showdown, the best parts of the book are those that give us a glimpse into the mind of Scott and the rest of the cast, where their story gets examined to the point where the feel like real people and not like two dimensional characters. We get some revelations about earlier events that shed some light on why Scott does the things he does in the way he does them. His rationalizations and mental gymnastics in regards to past relationships add another layer to his attachment to Ramona.
The last few weeks have wreaked havoc on my love life, so maybe I’m viewing the final volume through the lens of my own cynicism, but the conclusion of the book is sort of the antithesis of traditional romance. We get a story that simultaneously warns against falling head over heels in love, implying that it’ll get you stabbed in the heart with a giant sword, while also saying that it takes letting go and falling for someone with all of totality is the only way you’ll find someone worth loving at all.
It’s a conflicting final chapter, but a satisfying one. I truly believe that this will be a defining series for a lot of people. I’d rather a bunch of nerds use this as the basis for their idea of romance than the way some people use Twilight. Sure, they’re both unrealistic but at least Scott Pilgrim has a sense of balance. I think the ambiguity and eagerness to let the reader decide what they want to glean from the story is what will essentially have people coming back to re-read the book. I doubt I’ll have the same interpretation of the story if I revisit it in five years, hell, probably a year from now.
But it can’t be denied that it’s an amazing story, and a unique one, which is hard to say for alot of books out in this day and age.