Check out my previous review of Vol2: “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” here!
Scott Pilgrim and the Awkward Silence…
Vol 3 of the Scott Pilgrim saga picks up where we left off last time with The Clash at Demon Head concert, where Scott and Ramona realized that Envy’s bass player / boyfriend is in fact the same Todd that Ramona used to date! For those keeping track, in the movie version this whole volume was basically summed up in one scene: the fight between Scott Pilgrim (23 year old, indecisive loser-hero hybrid) and the Vegan-powered Todd!
Immediately after the concert, Scott Pilgrim, Ramona Flowers, Knives Chau, Kim Pine, and the others are invited back stage with Envy Adams and Todd Ingram to stare each other down. There’s some fun character interactions going here, and you almost need a flow chart to keep track of it all. Scott’s dating Ramona. Knives is currently dating Young Neil. Envy is with Todd. Scott used to date Knives but broke her heart. Scott also used to date Envy, but got his own heart broke. Knives previously fought Ramona over Scott. Ramona dated Todd briefly.
During this super awkward exchange, Knives jumps up in realization shouting “I’ve kissed the lips that kissed you!” and immediately gets her highlights punched out of her hair, by a chick with a bionic arm! During the exchange, Envy seems to get jealous of Ramona and starts to taunt her about her past. That’s when Scott just loses it and decides to start Round 3 early, yelling at Todd: “That’s it! That is it. You cocky cock! You will pay for your crimes against humanity!!!” – but just as Scott’s leaping through the air at Todd, his eyes start glowing and his hair goes Super Saiyan!
Vegan Powers Activate!
Todd uses his psychic powers to freeze Scott in the air and then proceeds to throw him through a solid brick wall! “Didn’t you know?” Envy asks, “Todd’s a vegan. Graduated top of his class from Vegan Academy and everything.”
While a lot of these moments end up in the Edgar Wright movie in some fashion, the book really lets these scenes breath. In fact, the fight between Scott and Todd takes place over the course of the book, with a couple breaks in between. Bryan Lee O’Malley continues to throw in videogame easter eggs throughout, like Scott running for a save point before the boss fight, and later grabbing a 1-up.
During the (one sided) fight, we start flashing back to Scott dating Envy (formerly Natalie) in college. Everyone decides to put the fight on hiatus until the next day, because it’s getting super late, so Envy tells them to meet up at ‘Honest Ed’s’ at 1pm.
After being frazzled by the night’s events and over the top melodrama, Scott and Ramona start bickering. Scott’s an anxious mess who apparently smells like trash, Ramona is annoyed by the whole situation, and she ultimately decides that maybe she’ll start liking him again in the morning. Scott wakes up early the next morning and decides to walk home where he realizes he’s been locked out and then proceeds to pass out in the rain.
“The Stark Existential Horror of Honest Ed’s“
After Wallace coaxes Scott out of his funk with the power of bacon, everyone shows up to Honest Ed’s, a massive department store, where Envy explains that both Todd and Scott need to survive the store and they agree that Todd won’t use his psychic Vegan powers. “So what’s Scott’s handicap?” Wallace asks. “Scott’s handicap is that he isn’t a survivor,” Envy replies. Scott agrees, “Fair enough.”
Stephen Stills asks what’s the big deal with Ed’s and Julie Powers responds, “You know how when a baby is first born, it just cries at the sheer horror of being alive?”
Scott and Todd race through the store, both attempting to quickly assemble fighting gear, while trying not to be overwhelmed by all the bargains. Todd starts to have flashbacks of his father and has a psychic meltdown, causing the entire building to implode!
A History of Evil Exes
O’Malley’s dialogue and comedic timing are always top notch and it’s no exception here.
Scott and Ramona go out for sushi before deciding to just skip their next battle. Eager to escape the drama of their past relationships, Ramona says, “Dude, come on. We’re shirking duties randomly made up by people who hate us.” They head back to her place where she explains her history with Todd.
She left Lucas immediately after meeting Todd and the two were a couple of rebels. She tells him how Todd once punched a hole in the moon for her. Ramona then asks Scott about his relationship with Kim and he’s a little off standish about it at first. “I moved here. It kinda ended. We changed.” “That’s it?!”
Scott loses his cool, “What do you want? Okay! I had to fight a dude to get with her! I fought a crazy seven-foot-tall purple-suited dude! And I had to fight 96 guys to get to him, too! […] And I kicked him so far he saw the curvature of the Earth!”
Ramona vs Envy!
The characters show up again at Lee’s Palace for the inevitable showdown. We get some more good character moments. Scott apologizes to Knives, Ramona becomes besties with Kim, and… Todd’s making out with the chick with the bionic arm?!
Right as Sex Bob-omb gets ready to play, Envy throws some shade at Ramona, who responds by threatening to kick her ass back to Montreal. Ramona pulls a giant magical hammer out of her subspace purse and a fight ensues, but Envy manages to get the upperhand. Scott notices from the stage and leaps into action to save her at the last possible second.
Envy notices that Todd’s gone MIA and Ramona reveals that he’s been cheating on her! Envy confronts Todd, finding him red handed. He assures her it meant nothing, she kicks him in the junk, and he blasts her across the room with his vegan powers!
Scott Pilgrim vs Todd – Round 3!
Scott smashes Todd in the face with his bass guitar and the two have a bass battle! Todd boasts that he actually knows how to play bass. Scott teams up with Crash and the Boys and their magical audio powers, but Todd makes quick work of them!
Scott monologues to himself, “I can’t even get near him! I need some kind of… like… last minute, poorly-set-up deus ex machina!!” And that’s when the Vegan Police show up! Turns out that Todd not only cheated on Envy, but he also cheated on his Vegan diet! Todd has his powers revoked and Scott headbutts him into oblivion!
The Short Goodbye
Ultimately, it ends with Envy and Scott standing in the rain, having an awkward moment of closure where Scott says, “I’m… I’m sorry about stuff.” She responds, “I know. Me too.” Then just like that, she leaves in a taxi for the airport.
Scott stands there for a moment, lamenting, “I… I guess that’s it… I was kind of hoping for some kind of closure, or you know, a hug, or something.” All the while, Wallace and Ramona are looking on. Ramona says, “Come on dude, let Scott have his slightly tragic moment.” All in all, Vol 3 holds up incredibly well and I had a blast re-reading it.
The Color Edition of Scott Pilgrim Vol 3 also includes the 2006 Free Comic Book Day issue of Scott Pilgrim, which includes one of my favorite moments where Ramona and Wallace are getting impatient with Scott taking his time, reading labels, trying to decide which drink he should get at the convenience store, based on their power ups.
Scott Pilgrim is my spirit animal.
To be continued in… Vol 4: “Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together”!