Scalped Vol 1: Indian Country
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: RM Guera
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Scalped is a crime story happening in, of all places, an Indian reservation ”“ that’s an American Indian reservation, not the Arjun Singh version. Partly inspired by the arrest and conviction of activist Leonard Peltier, and featuring homages to noir American writers, this series starts with the return of prodigal son Dashiell Bad Horse to his “rez”. Bad Horse, true to his name, kicks and lashes out at the slightest provocation, giving Chief Lincoln Red Crow an opportunity to hire him as resident peacekeeper ”“ the kind that closes down drug competition with maximum violence.
But Aaron’s tight scripting ensures that things are not as straightforward. It is obvious that he has a long-term plan in mind, as a rich back-story is built up and the cast of characters have interwined histories ”“ the FBI are involved in Bad Horse’s return to the reservation, and Chief Red Crow has motives beyond altruism towards his community. Bad Horse has to encounter ghosts of his past ”“ his estranged mother wants nothing to do with him, and his ex-flame Carol is none too pleased with his presence. Artist RM Guera takes a page from Argentine master Eduardo Risso, his use of dabs of browns and blacks conveys the bleak and hopeless landscape of the story. A worthy beginning to a series that looks really promising.