This is a very pleasant review for me. I have been following O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim books for several years now. Some criticized the art. I loved how the manga stylings soften the reader for the all-out video game inspired craziness of the climactic ‘versus’ battles. Then there were complaints that Pilgrim fans are nothing more than hipster doofuses. For that read it is a comic where the characters don’t wear their underwear over their trousers. I feel the reviews I have written for this blog don’t give proper due credit to the collaborative spirit of matching dialogue to sequential art in comics. With Scott Pilgrim there is no disjunct. This is O’Malley’s vision, from the words to the pencils, the complete package.

Scott is a twenty-four year old slacker living in Toronto, who plays bass in his friend Stephen Stills’ band Sex Bob-Omb. He shares a one-bedroom apartment with the sardonic Wallace Wells. Throughout the series he continues to experience strange flashbacks to a fight with a shadowy figure named Gideon. When he falls for American delivery girl Ramona, he becomes a target for the League of Evil Ex-Boyfriends. As the series progressed, with each volume ending with a versus battle against a videogame boss ex of Ramona’s, it became clear that Gideon is the mastermind behind all of Scott’s problems.

As this is the final volume of the series, I feel I cannot detail exactly what happens in this book. This is a spoiler free review. I will say that we finally find out why Scott cannot remember much from his past. What Ramona’s relationship with Gideon actually is. Will anyone ever notice Young Neil? Why does Ramona’s head suddenly light up with a mysterious glow?

The fifth title Scott Pilgrim Vs The Universe ended on a sweetly melancholic note, so I was curious as to how O’Malley would wrap this up, with a bang, or a whimper? I should not have worried. Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour ties up every loose end in a neat little bow. O’Malley’s art also continues to impress. There are plenty of references to old Nintendo game titles for nostalgia’s sake. I guess you either get the associations O’Malley packs his panels with, or you don’t. His pencils are deceptively childlike, similar to Nicholas Gurewitch’s Perry Bible Fellowship (which has also flirted with video game nostalgia), or Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha.

My only remaining concern now is, how will Edgar Wright top this for his film, which is due to be released later this month? See Bryan Lee O’Malley still had not finished writing the series when Wright came on board for the film version. So Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World starring Michael Cera as our slacker hero and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers, was scripted with a different ending. From what we have seen in trailers so far, Wright has nailed the video game visuals. The characters are also excellently cast, with Chris Evans as the egotistical actor Lucas Lee particularly inspired. However, I wonder if Wright realized that O’Malley intended for Scott and Ramona to team up, their romance finding its ultimate expression in a co-op battle with the Final Boss of the series.

With the final pages of this book Scott Pilgrim achieves that perfect balance between sentiment and fantasy. It’s a work of bathos, wryly humourous and packed with enough cartoonish violence to satisfy any action junkie. Like it, I loved it!