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The second issue is perhaps my favorite in the series. Probably because it has one of the most brilliant and thought provoking flashbacks of any medium. The story begins with Scott moving to a new town. Within his first five steps onto the school grounds he's confronted by bullies. O'Malley lays down a key personality trait for Scott in these exact moments: Scott never backs down. He takes on the bullies and winds up in the principal's office all before attending his first class. Sitting outside the office he meets Lisa, a cute young girl that leaves a lasting impression on Scott. That last bit's sarcasm.
Later he's playing video games in his basement, when lo and behold Lisa shows up uninvited. The quick-wit dialog between the two is hilarious as Scott tries to figure out why she's there and who she is. Lisa is wholly unconcerned by Scott's questions and starts the running joke of asking for lemonade. The next day he meets Kim Pine for the first time. They're assigned as lab partners, in which Kim assumes that Scott will slack off and leave her to do all the work all before he's sat down.
Scott and Lisa develop a friendship over the mutual interest of starting a band. Problem is they don't have a drummer. Meanwhile, he and Kim also develop a friendship as they continue to work as lab partners. Scott develops feelings for Kim soon after discovering that she's a drummer, he decides to ask her to join the band and to possibly be his girlfriend.
In the final act of the flash back, Scott comes into school to find that another local school has beaten up all the boys and captured Kim on the day of their presentation. Scott heads to the rival school and fights his way to the roof where Kim is being held. He beats the crap out of Kim's captor and is rewarded with a kiss. Afterward, Kim joins the band and starts dating Scott. The band plays at Lunch-a-palozza, while Scott and Kim's relationship gets serious. Then the Pilgrim family moves again and Scott must say goodbye to Kim.
The next scene shows Scott zoning out in front of a TV. You see, it wasn't a flashback, it was him reminiscing. It was one of those moments everyone has in which they daydream about their own life. One thing is for certain, he broke Kim's heart when he left. But Scott being Scott, probably doesn't even know it. And thus ends one of the best flashbacks in any medium. It gives the reader insight into Scott's past, but also how he sees himself. Never does O'Malley give the reader information that Scott himself wouldn't have. He's in every scene and always present when someone is talking. That's why it works so well, it's subtle.
Back in the regular time-line, Scott is technically dating two women at once. Wallace, his gay roommate, gives him an ultimatum: Break up with Knives or he'll tell Romona. Knowing that Wallace is true to his word, Scott breaks up with Knives. At this point it should become clear to the reader that Scott is a heart-breaker, but that's not to say that he hasn't been hurt before.
What makes this issue great is that it builds Scott as a character that most readers think of. He's a walking contradiction. He's selfish, yet caring. He's romantic, but a jerk. He's clueless, yet insightful. Scott and his friends are very much you and your friends. Sure the location and interests may be different, but the conversations are the same. Scott is ragged on endlessly by his friends and band mates when he brings Romona over for dinner. He's completely embarrassed by his parents when they call him after finding out he's dating someone. These character types aren't unique, they're familiar.
The story ends with Scott forced to face his own ex that broke his heart, but here's the kicker... She's dating Romona's next evil ex.
The changes from the first to second issue are not leaps and bounds. O'Malley's art finds its own voice in this issue. Not that his style stops developing but with this issue solidifies his art and storytelling style making it uniquely his own. The characters become more familiar and speak naturally, as if O'Malley had transposed a conversation with friends.
A lot of the ground work for the series is set up in this volume making it very important to the overall story. Readers will more than likely find that the movie takes a lot out of this issue as it is that key to overall story. Personally I just enjoy Scott's rollercoaster of emotions and video game fight scenes.
Story – 10.0
Plot – 10.0
Characters – 9.5
Art – 9.5
Overall – 9.8
Earn your nerd cred! How much does Scott and Wallace owe in late fees at Kim's video store? Follow Dustin on Twitter and post which is your favorite volume of the series in the comments below. Also, you don't win anything for knowing the answer; in fact you'll lose a little bit more of your soul.