Saturday, February 27, 2010


by Graphic-Guy (NWM Staff Writer)

SCALPED. If I had to give you the movie studio pitch I’d say it’s – THUNDERHEART with a bit of DONNIE BRASCO and GODFATHER thrown in. If the first film escapes your memory, that’s the one where Val Kilmer plays an FBI guy (of Sioux decent) sent to an Indian reservation to solve a murder. Movie was meh.

The main character Dashiell Bad Horse is also a Native American as well as a FBI guy. After a 15 year absense, the 28 yr. old has returned to the reservation. Though unlike Hollywood’s vanilla-ish, stereotypical, feather headressed imagery of indian-life, this is a much darker rez. A grimy, seedy place filled with drugs, crime and poverty.

Dash goes undercover (the Donnie Brasco part), working as a small town cop. He also starts moonlighting for crooked casino owner Chief Lincoln Red Crow (Godfather). D's mission is to nail Red Crow’s organization for the crimes they get away with (since they practically have the town in their back pocket).

Jason Aaron (writer) and R.M. Guera (artist) are responsible for weaving all of these masterful, gritty, horrific stories. What’s so compelling about this series is not just the riveting, edge of your seat stuff. It’s also that Aaron writes every character with a sort of Macbeth-ian quality. There are no simple white and black hats to be worn in this town. It’s all one big canvas of grey. Everyone is capable of evil and redemption.

Unlike a movie or even a book, Scalped is an ongoing series. Which means Aaron and Guera are able to really delve deep into the characters’ lives. Like Dash’s dealings with his Activist mother (Gina Bad Horse) who also has a shady past with Red Crow. And to add another layer of complexity to the mix, Dash's illicit love affair with Red Crow’s rebellious daughter Carol. As far as the art goes, Guera does an incredible job of capturing the Native American look, but not making ‘em look like expected charactures. He also has this subtle intensity that (excuse the pun) truly draws you in to each scene. Also to note is colorist Giulia Brusco, who uses a rich pallet of colors that are able to transform something as simple as a sunrise into this breathtakingly, ominous presence.

The first trade of Scalped (Indian Country) collects the first 5 issues and is available at Amazon for ONLY $9.99.

No excuses not to give it a read.

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1 comment:

  1. This actually looks pretty cool.... And it looks like it's really dark.... Are they really gory?


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