Comic Book Review Day, Part One: Scalped Vol. One: Indian Country
Scalped is a 60 issue series written by Jason Aaron with art by R.M. Guera. This review covers the first collected volume of the series, entitled “Indian Country.” All in all, this was a very surprising and enjoyable read.
A quick synopsis: After fifteen years, Dashiell Bad Horse has returned to the Prairie Rose Reservation and finds himself unwillingly drafted into the reservation police force.
There are two arcs included in the volume. First is “Indian Country” where Dashiell Bad Horse must acclimate to his new reality as the newest member of the reservation police force. The second arc “Hoka Hey” explores the relationships between Dash and Carol Ellroy, Chief Red Crow and Gina Bad Horse as well as exploring the events of 1975 (inspired by the Leonard Peltier case).
As a character, Dashiell can be easily described as an angry young man. He outwardly hates the reservation, but as Agent Nitz points out, there is also something there that pulls him back.
His tumultuous relationship with his mother is also excellently depicted. Gina Bad Horse is a Native American rights activist who (in Dash’s mind) abandoned him so she could carry on her crusade. In reaction to this, he not only becomes a cop on the reservation, but is also revealed to be an undercover FBI agent working under Nitz (even if unwillingly).
Given Scalped’s noir roots, there is also the femme fatale/ damsel in distress figure embodied in Carol Ellroy, Dash’s old love interest and Chief Red Crow’s troubled daughter. The sexual tension between them is palpable and explosive. Both characters come off as incredibly self destructive.
Even as the main narrative focuses on Dash’s mission to bring down Red Crow (a former Native rights activist turned politician/ mob boss), the events of 1975 fuels the flames of the present. From determining what kind of reservation Prairie Rose will become ( the casino or the old ways?) to a racist FBI agent’s pursuit of vengeance/ justice, none of these characters can escape their pasts.
And the final panels are just awesome.
Now, the art. If I were to just look at the art without reading the comic, I don’t think I would like it. The art is gritty and noirish. But as I read the comic, the art makes everything come together. The art is, honestly, perfect for the series.
Now, I ILLed this book from the library. But I must say that I look forward to picking up this series as the opportunities arise.