Thursday, 3 March 2011

Review - Scalped Volumes 1 & 2


These two volumes collect Scalped issues 1 to 11 by writer Jason Aaron and artist R.M. Guéra. Scalped is a Vertigo-published series that I have been hearing good things about for a while but I’d always been reluctant to pick up a volume in case I got hooked and had to keep buying it. However, when I noticed that my local library was able to get copies of all six of the volumes currently available, I thought it was time to check it out.

Scalped is set on the (fictional) Prairie Rose Indian Reservation in South Dakota and our hero is Dashiell Bad Horse. ‘Dash’ is a Native American FBI agent who returns to the reservation he grew up on, after fifteen years away, to bring down tribal leader / crime boss Lincoln Red Crow, who is in the process of opening a casino. Undercover, Dash earns himself a job enforcing the law on the reservation and becomes obsessed with Red Crow’s estranged daughter, who is more than a little bit wild. Unbeknown to him, Dash is being manipulated by his FBI boss, who has a score to settle with Red Crow, and there is another agent working undercover on the reservation, too.

This seems like a decent series but I don’t think I needed to worry about getting hooked into buying all of the volumes. The story raises some interesting issues – like the high rates of alcoholism and unemployment suffered by Native Americans – and some of the characters were pretty interesting, too. By the end of the second volume, it was clear that Red Crow cared about the fate of his people just as much as the other Native Americans protesting his casino, and I particularly liked Diesel Engine, a white wannabe Indian, proud to be one-sixteenth Kickapoo. However, I found the story a bit too slow-moving for my liking, and sometimes difficult to follow, thanks mainly to the good-but-murky art. The big reveal at the end of the first issue made me want to read the second issue, and the final page of the first volume made me want to read the second volume, but the second volume ended in more or less the same place as the first volume. I was actually slightly bored while reading these books and keen to finish them and move on to something else. I’ll probably still get the next couple of volumes out of the library and give the series more of a chance to get going, but maybe not for a few weeks.

Scalped Vol.1: Indian Country collects Scalped issues 1-5 and has a cover price of £8.99. Scalped Vol.2: Casino Boogie collects Scalped issues 6-11 and has a cover price of £9.99. As I said, I got both volumes out of my local library and all I paid was a 50p reservation (no Indian pun intended) fee.

4 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of Jason Aaron's work at Marvel. He's written some of the best Wolverine stories in recent years and his Ghost Rider was excellent (I will get round to reviewing that shortly). That said, I couldn't really get into Scalped either. Like you, I didn't think it really seemed to be going anywhere, though if I found copies in my local library, I'd probably give them a read.

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  2. I am not a Wolverine fan, or even a Ghost Rider fan, but I have heard good things about Aaron's work on those titles and would really like to read some of it if I knew where to start and the books were available at a reasonable price.

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  3. Rob you must get the rest of these and keep the reviews of 'Scalped' going. Not cos they're great or anything, I wouldn't know I haven't read um. Cos they fall into exactly the same category as 'Walking Dead' for me (and you by the sound) stuff I'm avoiding getting intrigued by so hopefully your reviews can work their magic again!

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  4. Your wish is my command. I have just reserved the next two volumes.

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