Bryan Lee O’Malley’s “Scott Pilgrim vs the Universe” is the fifth volume of the Scott Pilgrim and like the previous one, has very little in common with the film adaptation. The book follows up on the happy ending of Vol 4 where it seems as though Scott and Ramona are finally overcoming their pasts. Scott has vanquished the first four members in the League of Evil Exes, but this time he’ll have to contend with the Katayanagi Twins! But first, the book randomly opens with Scott’s 24th birthday with a super anime inspired overreaction to being called old and then a hilarious panel of him nomming on some chocolate cake.
Enter: The Twins
In the movie, Scott faces off against the twins in an epic but quick “Battle of the Bands” scene where the bands’ amps both create CGI kaiju to throw down with one another. While it’s a cool segment that keeps the movie’s pace going, it unfortunately means that the Katayanagi Twins get kinda short changed in the character development department. They’re less characters and more of a plot device. While Kyle and Ken only get one scene in the movie, they are featured pretty heavily throughout this volume.
Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers first run into the Katayanagi Twins at one of Julie’s many themed parties (a Halloween party – which is actually featured in the video game!), where Scott faces off against the first of several robotic henchmen unleashed by the twins. Afterward, Scott has a totally hilarious (and relatable) ADHD moment where Ramona is heading out to run a dozen errands asking him to unload the dishwasher while she’s gone and he gets distracted playing a game on her cellphone, zones out and completely loses track of time until she gets back home. Throughout this volume we get more hints at the mysterious “Gideon” from Ramona’s past, while Scott and Ramona navigate some rocky territory in their relationship.
At another one of Julie’s themed parties, Kim Pine tries to mend some awkwardness between them. After defeating another one of the Katayanagi robots, Scott joins the two in drinking a whole bottle of tequila! Scott asks Ramona, “Have you ever dated anyone who wasn’t evil? – Not that fighting harder and harder battles for your love is getting old, or anything…” She responds, “Yeah, once, this guy Doug. He was kind of a dick, though.” Then, after getting super drunk with Ramona and Scott, Kim is making her way home when she’s suddenly kidnapped by the twins!
Later that night, things get serious when Ramona asks Scott, “Did you cheat on me with Knives Chau?” He responds, “What? No. I cheated on Knives Chau with you.” The two have a heated argument and Ramona calls him out, “You tricked me into thinking you were a decent guy. But you’re just another Evil Ex-Boyfriend waiting to happen, aren’t you?”
Scott wakes up the next morning to a message from Kim asking for help, while Ramona is in the shower, he rushes off to save her saying, “I have to go rescue Kim, but I’ll be back! Don’t break up with me while I’m out, okay?!” Unfortunately, Ramona doesn’t hear him.
Scott shows up (with a hangover) to find Kim in a bird cage and the Katayanagi brothers waiting for him! This time, the twins fight without the help of their robots, but they team up against him. They easily overpower Scott, while mocking him for falling for Ramona, claiming that she came to Toronto to escape Gideon, and that she’ll do the same to him. In a last ditch effort to help Scott, as he’s hopelessly against the ropes, Kim yells out “I got a text! It’s from Ramona! She… she can’t wait for you to come home. She believes in you.” Even though it’s a lie, it gives Scott just enough willpower to push through and vanquish the twins!
Scott rushes home to make up with Ramona, but just as he’s pouring his heart out to her she starts crying and things get fuzzy. We get some of the most emotionally packed panels in the series as Ramona says, “I’ve done bad things, I’m a bad person.” Scott reassures her, “We both have. Everyone has! People can change Ramona.” She turns to him as she starts to disappear in a shower of light and tells him, “Thanks … I had a good time.”
And just like that, she’s gone…
In her place is a cat and an envelope with the name Gideon written on it. Scott is looking around for Ramona, when the cat escapes out the door. Scott goes to grab it, but winds up locking himself out!
The book ends with Scott getting a call from a mysterious stranger who (after saying he doesn’t want any hard feelings) casually says, “This is Gideon. When would it be convenient for you to die?”
To be concluded with… Vol 6: “Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour”!