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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour

Arguably to most hotly anticipated graphic novel of the year, Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour is the sixth and final volume of Brian Lee O'Malley's beloved and award-winning series for indie publishers Oni Press.  On July 20th, fans lined up at comic shops and bookstores across America to learn the fate of the titular hero and his love interest Ramona Flowers, as well as Kim Pine, Wallace Wells, Knives Chau (17 Years Old) and the rest of the gang.

O'Malley has grown tremendously as a cartoonist over the course of this series.  His tighter linework and more advanced use of grey tones is evident here, and the strength of the layouts is undeniable. Artist John Kantz assisted O'Malley with backgrounds, a technique we've seen before in the likes of Dave Sim's Cerebus. Though the series has always borrowed from a number of manga conventions (as well as the old-school videogame references the fans all love), volume 6 is perhaps the most strongly manga-influenced, both visually and in tone. 

The book can be divided into two halves: Scott spends the first in denial, avoiding his final confrontation with Ramona's 7th Evil Ex as well as the prospect of living with his mistakes.  The second half is the climax of the series, the final battle against Gideon Graves for Ramona's love.  To avoid giving too much away, let's just say this: O'Malley pulls the theme of immature vs. mature relationships together in a satisfactory way, and though some character's arcs are more open-ended than others, we leave the series secure in the belief that they all have happy lives and unseen further adventures ahead of them.

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