Sc0oter Girl by Chynna Clugston Flores

Scooter Girl is a very difficult graphic novel to quantify. Slippery as an eel and about as fun to read as playing with that slimy sea creature, what we have is a story full of foul characters doing really stupid and pointless things. Perhaps an ode to the dilettantes of the 2000 era, its superficiality is disguised by a mod-like 1960s setting. It’s neither here nor there: not a romance, not a contemporary, not a historical, not a comedy, not a satire, and not really even very likable; perhaps this comic is the perfect embodiment of the disaffected lost that came to be known as Generation X.

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Story: Ashton is gifted – everything he wants or needs is thrown into his lap through supreme luck. He bags the girls, has hordes of admirers, and enough money to do what he wants, when he wants. And yeah, he’s pretty smug about it. That is, until Margaret Ashton rides by and becomes the perfect poison. His life spirals out of control as he loses everything thanks to Margaret being his Kryptonite. But poor Ashton, he just wants to bag her and he’s sure that once he’s had her, his luck will return and he can go back to chasing skirts and DJing/partying. Thing is, Margaret thinks he is a tool and is (supposedly) too smart to fall for our narcissistic hero. Even a hitman on Margaret won’t dispel his bad luck or get him into her bedroom. Perhaps a move to San Diego is the answer. Until a few years later Margaret shows up and spoils everything yet again.

What this book feels like is self indulgence; a little fantasy (Mary Sue) for author Flores where she gets to be the cool chick and control/cause the downfall of the cute and rich boy who gets all the girls. It’s far fetched – we should at least get a chance to like the antihero so we root for “tsundere” Margaret. But that never happens and even Margaret comes off as very caustic and unpleasant. Shouldn’t there be at least one likable character in a story to offset all the vanity?

There are a few side characters, including a brother for Margaret. He spends most of the book being emo and moping – fairly pointless to be honest. The plot meanders and changes tones a bit too often to be engrossing; it’s a strange transition to go from playful annoyance about a girl to hiring someone to kill her. And the ‘redemption’ at the end just thuds at our feet like a deflated zeppelin. It’s very odd and unbelievable.

The artwork is an odd mix between the Archies and Japanese manga; bright Western bold colors contrasted with quite a few anime/manga conventions. The ‘mod’ flavor is decorative – this is a contemporary setting where people are obsessed with mod culture for some reason or other (I have no idea why everyone is mod obsessed). I think it would have made more sense setting this in the 1960s, when being macho was still a thing and the mod scenery makes sense.

The story and stylings are fairly unique – but not necessarily in a good way. What we have is a fairy tale for gen Xers with substance and a moral ending completely and inexplicably stripped. In many ways, I can’t help but think of a car crash on the highway; you don’t want to look yet are strangely drawn to the carnage and unpleasantness of it all. Then it is out of your mind ten minutes later. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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