Review by Woodrow Phoenix
Scott Pilgrim Color Hardcover Volume 5: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Universe is a deluxe reissue of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s smash-hit videogame/romance/fight epic previously published in 2009, and continuing from Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together. The new colour editions of the Scott Pilgrim series have been expertly coloured by Nathan Fairbairn, working closely with O’Malley who has tweaked some of the art and rewritten a few jokes to take advantage of the new format.
This begins with Scott celebrating his 24th birthday. He still has no actual skills apart from his fighting abilities and he’s still somewhat weirdly irritating, but he’s got Ramona, his terrible band has gigs, he has defeated four of her evil ex-boyfriends in videogame-shonen fights and he’s determined to live happily ever after. His next opponents are a pair of Japanese twins, Kyle and Ken Katayanagi who are handsome, smart and sneaky. They send a robot to do their fighting for them in a funny sequence where one of Julie’s parties continues to go on as normal while Scott fights on, almost ignored in a corner of the room. O’Malley’s manga-esque drawing style continues to get more polished and the staging of both his quiet character moments and his action sequences is superbly done, with the colour support from Fairbairn pushing the design to new heights.
The mysteries of Ramona Flowers’ past are at the centre of this volume: her ever-changing hair, her glowing head, and her relationship with Gideon all demand explanation. Scott does his best in his vague way to find out, but invariably the result is more confusion and blurring of boundaries. By the end of this volume, everything is squashed under the immense pressure of the upcoming final fight and there’s a great sense of impending doom. It really is Scott Pilgrim vs The Universe. Is the universe going to win?
This new colour hardcover also includes 40 pages of extra material featuring tons of original sketches, pin-ups, posters, t-shirt designs and cover designs for the series. There is a look at O’Malley’s process in putting a volume together from thumbnails to final art, and lots of sketches and character designs.
Readers familiar with Scott Pilgrim through the movie may find these colour editions more inviting than the black and white softcovers, and with all the extras, previous fans of the series will find plenty to enjoy too. The conclusion is Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour.