Seconds

Seconds is published by Random House.

Finishing a series comes with challenges. While most are worried about how they will end the story they’ve been working on for years, the real test can be what to do afterwards. For Bryan Lee O’Malley it’s no different.

After spending over six years on his Scott Pilgrim series it took him another three to get to his next release Seconds. But does the new book have the magic that his popular series had? Let’s find out.

Seconds is a Graphic Novel written and drawn by Bryan Lee O’Malley in association with Jason Fischer (Drawing Assistant), Dustin Harbin (Lettering) and Nathan Fairbairn (Colouring).

The story follows Katie, a chef and co-founder of Seconds a popular restaurant build out of a old house. While Katie has built her reputation at Seconds she’s working towards opening her own place across town. Despite her dreams and planning her current project is over budget and behind schedule. To make things worse she’s in a bad relationship with Andrew the current chef at Seconds.

During a particularly bad day she makes a series of errors including running into her ex, making out with Andrew and in the process causing her waitress Hazel to burn herself on some unattended oil.

After taking her to the hospital Katie returns to her apartment above Seconds where she discovers a box with a notepad, a mushroom and some instructions inside of it. The note tells her that if she writes down her mistake, eat the mushroom and go to sleep the event will be fixed and forgotten.

The next morning refreshed discovering that Hazel is injury free. Later, Katie finds more mushrooms in the house and uses them for even the smallest social blunder.

Soon after, she’s visited by a strange girl who warns her not to use any more mushrooms. Before Katie can properly respond, the girl is gone. Later while talking with Hazel she find out that the girl is the house spirit and that using this is magic might cause her more bad than good.

It’s been a long three years for author Bryan Lee O’Malley, coming off the success of his Scott Pilgrim series, his next project gets the added attention with fans hopping for something similar. While O’Malley has worked on other things past Pilgrim, this might be the first time he makes a step in a different direction.

The two works are very different, with Pilgrim feeling more like a manga series blasted with pop culture references and culture. Seconds is free of those types of things and is better for it.

Seconds is a simple story; it’s about Katie finding the power to change her life, but realizing that she can’t change the things that matter. These types of stories are done a lot in fantasy but the thing that makes Seconds different is O’Malley’s style and dialogue.

He seems to capture much of the same magic of his past series with snappy dialogue and interesting characters. However, unlike Pilgrim the main focus is only on Katie and not a series of wacky characters.

Seconds also has a clearer story structure, with a narrator that interacts with the main character. Needless to say, having the main character argue with the narrative isn’t original but when it’s done well, like in Seconds, it’s quite funny. Additionally the narrator adds a great deal of context for the overall story in a fun breaking down the fourth wall kind of way.

Art wise, Seconds uses a slightly different style than what fans might be use to. While the art is still influenced by manga artists, the title looks different from Scott Pilgrim or Lost at Sea. To be more precise the style seems to lean more towards the real world instead of the busy action of Scott Pilgrim.

Each of the characters are distinctive feeling including their own fashion styles and smaller details all their own. The fashion of many of the characters was clearly a major focus as over the course of the story most characters have several different outfits and looks, all of which look like they could be filling the pages of fashion magazines.

Seconds also gets the added bonus of colour, something that his titles didn’t originally have. The colour pallet of Seconds is almost as important as the fashion as it makes the characters stand out but adds depth to the story as a whole.

Overall, Seconds is a great book. It’s different from O’Malley’s other works and doesn’t retread any ground. The characters and dialogue are excellent and is a great read for Scott Pilgrim fans and newbies alike. Bryan Lee O’Malley proves that he can push past his Scott Pilgrim character and do something very different. I can’t wait to see what O’Malley has in store next for us.

Seconds is published by Random House.

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