John Buys Comics. Boy, Does He Ever.

It was another heavy week for me, folks. Literally, I mean. I had a hard(er) time carrying my comic bag home. What terrible scheduling spirits conspired to have Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour and Rasl come on the same week as my copies of The More Than Complete Action Philosophers! and the second Agents of Atlas trade came in, I'll never know. Mean ones, they are - I was listing sideways all the way home.

Wait, that doesn't sound very heavy at all. Perhaps I should explain something about my bag: It's already very heavy, because I must carry a ridiculous amount of stuff around with me for my own peace of mind. Four more books made it think seriously about gravitational collapse.

Curiously, the fact that my stack of comics contained fewer items this week did not make me any more productive, review-wise. Quite the contrary, in fact - evidently the height of the pile is the thing that'll really kick my procrastination circuits into gear, not the number of items it is composed of.

Which is all a way of saying that I don't have much to say this week. Oh, Action Philosophers! and Rasl are terrific, and it's about time that I got around to reading them, but you probably already knew that. I'm going to confine myself to the two exciting brand new things of the week, Scott Pilgrim and Welcome to Tranquility. I'll save Scott Pilgrim until the end, just to give you ample warning: much as I try I might spoil something or influence your experience or something, so don't read to the end if you need to keep your thoughts pure to derive pleasure from a comic.

Welcome to Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave No 1

Speaking of series that I waited way too long to get into, I didn't pick up on this one until the second trade came out, despite Rachelle's insistence that it was rilly, rilly good. And it is!

If you're not in the know, Welcome to Tranquility (Gail Simone - Writer, Horacio Domingues - Art, Jonny Rench - Colours) is about a small town where a large number of Golden and Silver Age super-heroes retired, settled down and raised their families and got on with small-town life. I keep wanting to make a comparison to Neopolis in Alan Moore's Top Ten, but it's not a perfect fit. Where Top Ten is about a city full of people who have no place in the outside world any more and thus have recreated the wold in microcosm, complete with all the crime and vice that they fought on the outside, Welcome to Tranquility features larger-than-life figures trying to recreate what they imagine that everyday folks have. Of course, there would be no story in that if everything didn't go wrong, so the series is really about non-super-powered Sheriff Tommy Lindo having to solve small-town murders and conspiracies. Only think Hot Fuzz, rather than Agatha Christie. Because of the super-powers.

If you've ever read anything by Gail Simone, you know that she can write characters, and this is a book full of 'em, ones that she created herself, and complimented by Domingues' art and Rench's colours. You've probably seen the preview for this if you read any Wildstorm books at all, and let me tell you, I don't know what the hell is going on. In a good way. Mayor Fury is getting out of prison! My mind is blown! His lawyer wore a suit and cape! That was awesome!

So. As I recall, the first two trades were pretty reasonably priced, so if you check this out and like it but have no idea what the hell's going on I most heartily recommend them. I can't remember if there are gorillas, but basically every other excellent thing from comics shows up at one point or another, including robots and really fun mysteries. 

Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour

Or should I write that Scott Pilgrim Book 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour? Or Scott Pilgrim Book 6: 's Finest Hour? Damn you, O'Malley! Oh wait, book one was Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, wasn't it? i guess consistency gets you off the hook. This time.

First off, I have some bad news. My theory about Ramona being a fictional stand-in for Kim Pine and the whole fighting evil exes thing being Scott's penance for how poorly he treated her in high school totally didn't pan out. I repeat: Scott and Kim don't end up together at the end. So sad. Why do my crackpot theories never pan out?

Other than that, though, totally awesome. As is required of any Scott Pilgrim epic, this had crazy fight scenes and video game references and callbacks to prior volumes and sappy twentysomething romance. All of my favourite characters got some facetime and there was resolution without absolute certainly. An ending completely in keeping with the quality fun and pure joy that the series has been for me.

Here's where you really, really want to stop reading if having my reading experience taint yours would make you sad. Seriously, I'm going to talk about themes and stuff.

Aside from the straightforward joys of watching Scott Pilgrim fightin' and lovin', this was an extremely satisfying read because it managed to cast the entire series in a new light. My guess wasn't that far off in one respect - Scott Pilgrim has been on a voyage of redemption and redefinition. In light of what happens in this final volume one can look back and see it: Scott Pilgrim making the transition between the selfish world of high school love and the hard-to-attain adult relationship that isn't just high school love with a new face. He's trying to grow up without becoming an asshole (the assholes are represented by the evil ex-boyfriends). Or something like that. What this really means is that Bryan Lee O"Malley has given me a really solid excuse to read the series again. Thanks, man!

And now I must go. Good night!