The ScienceSaru-produced animated series rebuilds rather than retells Bryan Lee O'Malley's beloved comic.
Late in the final volume of Bryan Lee O'Malley's 2004-2010 comic series Scott Pilgrim (Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour), once the action's done and the hateful Gideon Graves has been slain, protagonists Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers take a moment to process everything. Defeating Gideon meant facing not only the vicious misogynist swordsman but also their respective character flaws (It's telling that one of Scott's key moments is his realizing just how alike he and Gideon are, and by gaining that understanding, he affirms that, yeah, Gideon has so got to die).
There are a few candidates for Scott's actual finest hour in Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour. His after-action conversation/reconciliation/renewal with Ramona is my pick. Bryan Lee O'Malley/Oni Press.
As Ramona says, change is one of life's constants, which applies to Scott Pilgrim's ventures into new mediums. Edgar Wright's thoroughly enjoyable movie shifted around characters and reworked some of Scott's flaws. The colorful, impeccably soundtracked, hair-tearingly difficult Ubisoft-produced video game ramped up the goofy save for one particularly pointed ending. And now, with the Netflix animated series Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, creator O'Malley—joined by co-writer and co-showrunner BenDavid Grabinski and animation studio ScienceSaru (with episode director Abel Góngora) have changed things up yet again. Rather than retell Scott Pilgrim as it's been since 2004 (a story already told, with riffs, as a comic, movie, and video game), the creative team opts for something more radical. It's a work as much in conversation with the Scott Pilgrim that came before as an adaptation. Continue Reading →
Doom Patrol Season 4 Part 2 dives headfirst into what has consistently been a series favorite topic since the beginning: death. While much of Patrol has pondered what it would be like to live agelessly—essentially without fear of any possible death except the violent and unusual—but still struggle with every other aspect of being human. The members screwed up, had mental issues and physical ailments, struggled with vanity and loneliness, and frequently gave in to any number of self-loathing varietals. They would never age, but they wore their pain the same as the rest of us. Continue Reading →
The Boys is good. Often, it is excellent. However, the Eric Kripke-created adaptation of the Garth Ennis-Darick Robertson-created comic book series sometimes overindulged in juvenilia and “is this too edgy for you, square?” baiting. To be fair, that isn’t exactly unfaithful to the source material. Ennis frequently vacillates between scathingly insightful critiques of the human condition and truckloads of dick jokes (see also, Preacher). Continue Reading →
There’s no denying Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty remains entertaining in its second season. There’s no denying that its panoply of digital tricks holds the viewer’s attention, whether what’s on-screen is a scrimmage gone awry or a father meeting his child for the first time. But does that mean it’s good? Continue Reading →
So the idea of “having it all” was a big lie, right? It is nearly impossible to balance and give equal time to a fulfilling career, a stable relationship, and full-time parenting, with room for leisure time, hobbies, and staying fit. Something will fall to the wayside somewhere, sacrifices will have to be made that will either affect us now or affect us later. But women, we’ve been hearing this nonsense for decades, right, about how with the perfect day planner or the number one meal delivery service or the best ten-minute workout we can do it, we just have to want it bad enough. But not too bad, because ambition is an ugly thing in women. But, on the other hand, so is laziness. Add “find the right balance between too ambitious and not ambitious enough” to the list of things we have to do. Continue Reading →
There’s a moment in the second episode of Cowboy Bebop that captures the experience of the entire series. Spike Spiegel (John Cho) fights a man in a bathroom while a wedding takes place in the same building mere yards away. As Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir) tries to figure out what’s happening over comms—despite it seeming fairly obvious—Spike gets the upper hand. He pauses, shifts slightly, pauses again, and then kicks the man through a bathroom stall door. The man helpfully stayed in place throughout. Continue Reading →
Hollywood's year-long hiatus on major comic-book adaptation movies has left ample room for streaming services to pick up the slack and then some. Amazon, for example, has wisely curated high-profile releases from existing superhero stories that subvert the genre in ways that would probably ring unfamiliar if attempted by the more mainstream Marvel and DC fare. The Boys is all about poking a gory hole in how superheroes can be vapid, unchecked, and even monstrous celebrities. Invincible just ended its first season with a bang of a finale, taking its colonizer version of Superman to task. And then there's the curious case of Netflix's Jupiter's Legacy. Continue Reading →