If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while, or just know me in general, you’ll know that Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series is one of my favourite things ever, that I love it almost unconditionally. I say this because, in this issue, Kieron Gillen has Loki make a Scott Pilgrim reference, and I HATED IT. Normally I love everything Scott Pilgrim, but having it referenced here really didn’t work for me.
There’s something about the way in which this book references pop culture that really rubs me the wrong way. I love Game Of Thrones, but the Tyrion joke early on pissed me off too. I don’t know, I guess it just feels like the biggest example of this book trying too hard to be cool and to appeal to things that teenagers are presumed to like. I also don’t believe Loki as a character would know what the fuck Game Of Thrones or Scott Pilgrim are, so it’s not only trying too hard, but it just doesn’t make sense. It felt like yet another attempt to trend on that social blogging site we don’t mention this book is pandering too because people get upset. And we’re also not supposed to mention the ‘p-word’ either. Gah, this title frustrates me so much. I don’t get it. They should have just left the fact that the villains of this book are a ‘League Of Evil Exes’ and have the Scott Pilgrim reference be left unsaid and subtle. But then that wouldn’t get many reblogs now would it?
The issue begins with a meeting between Wiccan, Hawkeye and Wiccan’s parents who are under ‘Mother’s control. Captain America is also there, and under the spell, demonstrating that the subtext of ‘teens versus adults’ is coming right to the fore again, and how Cap is being made to just not understand, and how the Young Avengers are on their own. This is a fairly clever idea, but really, it’s being written by an adult, so it doesn’t seem right to have such blatant teenage rebellion stuff written by someone who isn’t a teen. Again, it’s that whole trying-too-hard thing. Trying too hard to be cool, to be young. I much prefer Gillen on other books for this reason. I’m not saying that Marvel should hire actual teenagers to write teen books (although, Jim Shooter’s Legion…) but it still feels mangled.
So, it’s up to the Young Avengers and a bunch of other teen heroes to save the day. There are a few interesting scenes in this issue, mostly with the bad guys, Leah is trying to discover more about ‘Patriot’ and Noh-Varr’s exes are a lot of fun. The worst scene in this issue is the part where Loki, Miss America and Prodigy try and prepare Wiccan for what he has to do. It contains the aforementioned terrible reference, and basically once again has everything revolving around Wiccan. Much like this book as a whole, I don’t get Wiccan, he’s a terrible character and the fact that he’s some cosmic messiah pisses me off. He’s sucked up so much space in this series as a whole, that when Gillen tries to give Miss America a moment of humanity here, it doesn’t work, because she’s barely a character. All she’s done in this title is kick things, wear cool clothes and not trust Loki. What does she do in this issue? Kick things, wear cool clothes and not trust Loki. Gillen has forgotten that this is a team-book and it’s really made it suffer. There is something interesting revealed here, and it’s that, Wiccan killing himself would destroy Mother like he thought, but for some reason Loki doesn’t want him to do that. Damn you Loki, just let the idiot kill himself, we’ll all be better off without his whining.
Mother unleashes the army of evil doppelgangers, and what follows is a big battle, that’s noteworthy for McKelvie’s awesome panel layouts, as he continues to be the best thing about this title, and also for the reveal that Miss America is either gay or bi-sexual or I dunno. Again, it’s hard to care because she’s barely a character. I did like seeing Generation Hope show up here, a reminder that Gillen can write good teen characters. Gillen does nod again towards Noh-Varr perhaps betraying the team for his exes, but nothing yet. The issue ends with a big twist, revealing that Loki’s attempts to bring back his powers did work, but they went to Leag, and that the vision of the ‘good’ Kid Loki he’s been seeing were actually her all along, which is… interesting I guess. I’m just past caring at this point.
This book had so much potential, but it’s being wasted as a style over substance mish-mash full of unlikeable characters and stilted views of what it means to be young. I don’t want to hate this title, I love the creative team on almost everything else they do, but this title is just… bad. The art is great, but really, all you have to say is that this issue made me think negatively about Scott Pilgrim. That’s the most damning indictment I can give.