Friday, August 10, 2007

REVIEW :: Scalped Volume One TP

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: R.M. Guera

reviewed by Todd Harlan

I hate the word epiphany, so let’s just say I came to an understanding about myself when I read this book: I get uncomfortable reading about a character’s fictional circumstances that I understand to be typical of a great many people in reality, especially when those circumstances are the result of racial marginalization, extreme poverty, and a society—of which I am a part—that allows such things to continue in 2007. But that’s one thing good stories do—they confront and broaden the reader’s perception of his or herself, their values, or their perception of what’s going on around them, all while seducing them into turning to the next page—no easy feat.

Scalped does just that. It’s the story of “Rez Cop”, Dashiell Bad Horse and Tribal Leader, Lincoln Red Crow, set on the fictional Prairie Rose Indian Reservation. Over the years, Red Crow has amassed an extraordinarily high body count to create an organized crime empire, culminating in the realization of his dream: the grand opening of the Crazy Horse Casino. Enter Dashiell Bad Horse, who, as a punk teenager, abandoned his mother and the reservation for parts unknown, and wound up as an agent for the FBI. His assignment: Infiltrate Red Crow’s organization and take it down.

Jason Aaron’s strengths lie in dialogue that allows his characters to transcend the panel—to get up and walk around on the page, and it’s these fully-realized characters that propel this mix of western and noir forward at a tight clip. But be warned: it’s not for the faint of heart. R.M Guera’s graphic depictions of squalor, sex, violence will leave a lasting impression. Too he’s one of those artists who can maintain a high degree of clarity while employing a busy line against a large amount of black space. It’s a perfect compliment to Aaron’s narrative.

And hey, if social commentary in your comics bores you, there’s plenty of story to be had. Best of all you can get the fist five issues for a measly ten bucks, so give it a try.

Have I ever steered you wrong?


Daniel Von Egidy said...

I picked up this and Loveless earlier in the week and thought they we're both great.

Phil Southern said...

You have done more to reveal the inherent inequitous treatment of all of, our brothers and sisters on the small blue world, with the exception of of Cher. Godspeed my brother, godspeed.


Todd Harlan said...

If I can reach just one person . . . well, it will have all been worth it. Oh, excuse me--time for a costume change.

Rich Barrett said...

Todd talked me into buying this book this week and he definitely steered me right.