Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O’Malley

There aren’t many books I can think of where stores will have a special midnight opening so that the ultra keen fans can buy a copy before everyone else. Even less if you narrow it down to comic books.

Scott Pilgrim is one of those books.

Legions of fans this week lined up outside bookstores for the midnight release of the 6th and final volume of the Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels. Never heard of Scott Pilgrim? To be honest, it’s one of the best comics out there.

Scott Pilgrim is a 23 year old slacker living on his friend Wallace’s floor in Toronto, Canada. He’s wandering aimlessly through life, unsure of what to do with himself. In the mean time, he goes to parties, plays bass in the (not very good) band Sex Bob-Omb, and dating his 17 year old girlfriend. So, nothing serious.

That’s until he meets Ramona, the American girl with multi coloured hair who delivers Amazon packages while roller blading. He thinks he’s fallen in love. But to date Ramona, first he must defeat in battle her seven evil ex-boyfriends.

When you first pick up volume 1, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, you think this is going to be a pretty standard romantic comedy. The art has a manga influence while still being Western. The characters are people you would recognise, listening to cool music, wearing hip clothes and hanging out with their friends. But when the first evil ex-boyfriend arrives and it turns into a scene straight out a Street Fighter video game, you know you’re reading something special. Scott Pilgrim lives in a world that is equal parts romantic comedy and old school video game. The mix produces something that peaks on the awesome scale.

As the series progresses, we see Scott begin to grow up and enter the adult world. And as he matures, we also see the love between Scott and Ramona develop. For Scott, the only thing more difficult than fighting evil ex-boyfriends is being a good boyfriend.

Volume 6, Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, has Scott face off with the final ex-boyfriend. Everything that has been building up throughout the series reaches its climax here. Scott and Ramona have to work out what they want and what they mean to each other. And of course, this is all going on in a trendy night club with a live band and a to-the-death sword fight. See, I told you this was worth reading.

Running through the Scott Pilgrim series is the idea that you need to accept the mistakes you have made in life and learn from them. The character of Scott is by no means perfect. Throughout his life he has made many bad decisions and hurt people along the way. When he finally recognises how much of a jerk he has been and the effect this has on other people, only then can he move onto bigger and better things.

Just like Scott, we’ve all been jerks. We’ve all had those moments we wish we could just forget. When we’ve done things we wish we could take back. When we’ve hurt people we care about. Most of all, we continue to do everything we can to completely mess up the one relationship that means the most to us – our relationship with the God who made us. Like Scott, we need to own up to our mistakes. We need to front up to God and tell him we’re sorry for being complete and utter jerks. That we know we have done the wrong thing. We need to ask God for forgiveness.

1 John tells us that if you ask God for forgiveness, he will say yes. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9) Once you own up to the wrong stuff you’ve done, once you’ve been given that forgiveness, then you’re free to move on, to build that relationship with the God who created you. That’s an incredible gift we have through Jesus.

Next month, the Scott Pilgrim movie, starring Michael Cera, is released. It promises to be an epic of epic epicness. I have this to say: People who make movies based on comic books, if you’re reading this, don’t mess this up. This movie better be awesome. You owe me after Watchmen.

I can’t recommend Scott Pilgrim enough. Everyone I’ve ever lent the books to has loved it. Girls, it’s a great love story. Guys, there’s a tonne of action sequences and cool video game references. There’s something here for everyone.

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About Joel A Moroney

Associate Minister at St Luke's Anglican Church, Liverpool (in the Sydney Diocese). A very strange man, but he usually has Pez, so that makes it okay.
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