Seconds: A Graphic Novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley – Review

After the wild success of hipster Bible, Scott Pilgrim, Bryan Lee had a huge task following it up. Seconds is a different beast than Scott Pilgrim, but it has the familiar warmth and nergasmic content that drew in the masses. It’s cute, very cool and dares to tread deeper water then Scott Pilgrim. It tells the story of Katie, a successful Chef, who’s having problems getting her new restaurant off the ground. One night, aided by a spirit living in former restaurant ‘Seconds’, Katie discovers some magical mushrooms that allow her to go back into the past and change events in her life. This, as the trope goes, doesn’t turn out as Katie plans.

Seconds like Scott Pilgrim, is beautifully drawn and is full of incredibly charming scenery. Katie herself is always brimming with emotion and always endearing to the reader. Character wise the story isn’t as full of life as Scott Pilgrim, but in fairness that series had six books to build up relationships, Seconds only has one. Consequently characters like Katie’s boyfriend, Max, feel a bit lifeless and hollow. The only other stand out characters are Hazel, Katie’s naive employee turned friend, who acts as a clumsy adviser in the world of the spirits and the House Spirit herself, Lis. Lis is cool, creepy and reminiscent of Helena from Orphan Black. She doesn’t feature enough for O’Malley to really flourish her out, but her interactions with Katie are a highlight of the novel.

The story of Seconds does tread familiar ground, but it still provokes interesting philosophical discussion on the nature of time, choices and relationships. Katie like Scott has that wild, unfettered impulsiveness that makes it hard to believe her as a functioning, responsible 29-year-old. She never really evolves but you do feel that she has learnt to become more accepting, and less controlling, which seemed to be the main saboteur of her relationships and her businesses.

Overall, Seconds feels more homely then Scott Pilgrim, less bonkers, at points less humorous (but still very funny) but partially more relatable and more of a personal journey. Some readers will take more to it, some won’t. It seems like it’s for a slightly older crowd, but at heart it still a 16-year-old hipsters fantasy world. It’s most definitely a recommended read for the art style alone and if you’re looking for a quirky, time travelling, romantic, adventure through the mind, then check it out.


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