Scalped Vol.5: High Lonesome introduces a new scumbag to the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation, down-on-his-luck conman of a thousand faces, Wesley Willeford. Wesley rumbles our ‘hero’, Dashiell ‘Dash’ Bad Horse, who is currently hooked on drugs and involved in a destructive relationship with the daughter of reservation chief / crime lord Lincoln Red Crow, as an undercover FBI agent and uses him to try and rob the Crazy Horse Casino, which leads to a bloody final chapter. In this volume, we also discover the origin of Indian-wannabe / FBI agent / murderer Diesel Engine, what happened to turn Dash’s FBI supervisor, Nitz, into such a mean bastard, exactly who killed those two FBI agents back in 1975, and who killed Gina Bad Horse back in Scalped Vol.1.
This series gets better with each passing volume and I have gone from being fairly indifferent about the first two volumes I read to being completely hooked, to the point where I now want to track down and buy (cheap) copies of all the previous volumes – which, like this volume, I originally got out of my local library – and buy this and all the subsequent volumes, too. I may have to buy a copy of vol.6, at the very least, as the copy I reserved at the library weeks ago appears to have been stolen, and it may be some time before they get vol.7, if they get it at all. That’s okay, though, as these books are released as relatively inexpensive softcovers, not fancy-pants hardcovers, and while it may not turn out to be a series that I want to keep forever, I’m pretty sure that it is something I will want to reread at least once or twice (if only to remind myself what is going on as new volumes come out).
Writer Jason Aaron has created an intriguing story here, and some sleazy but sympathetic characters, while regular artist RM Guéra’s murky, Eduardo Risso-like art is very well suited to the book. This volume also features work by guest artists Davide Furnò (who drew a few issues in previous volumes) and Francesco Francavilla, and I particularly like Furnò’s art, which always looks to me like someone inked some John Buscema pencils with a marker pen (but in a good way).
This has a Titan Books cover price of £10.99, but the Vertigo edition (the same book but without an impossible-to-remove sticker on the back cover) is almost certainly available cheaper online (I hope so because I might end up buying a copy). They may even have a copy in your local library, if some thieving bugger hasn’t stolen it.