Page 45 Review by Stephen
Because I rate this so highly, I've written extensive brand-new reviews for this series of five double-editions, but this time I'm merely going to rework what I've already for the original volume 5 and 6.
But first, here's how I introduced SCALPED BOOK 1 and SCALPED BOOK 2 to set the scene.
"Yet, here we are, still forgotten, still a third world nation in the heart of America."
Crime and grime on the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation, South Dakota, "where the great Sioux Nation came to die".
Gone is the majesty, the beauty, the health, the wealth and the freedom to roam. They've been replaced by grinding poverty enforced by unyielding societal shackles, dilapidated housing patched up with corrugated iron, refuse-strewn streets, gutted car wrecks abandoned on pock-marked asphalt and a burned-out people deprived of any opportunity but to drink themselves to death.
That's all that we - the colonising, genocidal White Eyes - have given back to them, in lieu of their true heritage and of the bounty which was already their own. For more of that history, please see the great graphic novel INDEH by Ewan Hawke and Greg Ruth: it will tear your heart out.
Scalped vol 5: High Lonesome
The series of secrets is blown wide open here.
Some of them come clean whilst others are seen and you will find out who killed Gina Bad Horse.
You'll find out Agent Nitz's true agenda and in another flashback witness Diesel's harsh transformation from a gullible boy just eager to fit in to a ruthless fear-monger. But it's all about the structure of storytelling here and once more Aaron does not disappoint, setting it up from the perspective of a travelling trickster arriving at the casino to count cards, whose every utterance is a compulsive lie countered neatly by an inner thought. Then Jason Aaron, I imagine, laughs loudly to himself as he makes you wait until the last two chapters to pick that thread back up and bring it all together in a collision of past and present, and a great big fucking shoot-out.
Scalped vol 6: The Gnawing
And it's at this pivotal point, when everything looks like it will fall apart for everyone - when Dashiell Bad Horse will be exposed for the undercover FBI agent he is, when his other employer Chief Red Crow will finally be fingered for murder and his casino invaded by the Asian-American crimelords he's just insulted, when the other undercover agent Diesel will be released from jail by the FBI despite having murdered a young boy Dashiell had taken under his wing - that Catcher re-enters the fray. He's barely done more than circle so far, preferring the oblivion of booze and visions of the Thunder Beings (which may or may not be the result of said booze), but now he has some words to say to Dashiell and a sniper rifle with one bullet in it which he's going to make count.
If you read and review enough graphic novels you can see a lot of them being written and a lot of them being drawn, and you shouldn't. You shouldn't be able to peer behind that curtain. Here you can't. It's just that good.