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Scalped: The Deluxe Edition Book One

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Fifteen years ago, Dashiell "Dash" Bad Horse ran away from a life of abject poverty and utter hopelessness on the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation searching for something better. Now he's come back home armed with nothing but a set of nunchucks, a hell-bent-for-leather attitude and one dark secret, to find nothing much has changed on "The Rez" - short of a glimmering new ca Fifteen years ago, Dashiell "Dash" Bad Horse ran away from a life of abject poverty and utter hopelessness on the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation searching for something better. Now he's come back home armed with nothing but a set of nunchucks, a hell-bent-for-leather attitude and one dark secret, to find nothing much has changed on "The Rez" - short of a glimmering new casino, and a once-proud people overcome by drugs and organized crime. Is he here to set things right or just get a piece of the action? This new collection of this modern classic series from superstar writer Jason Aaron is now in a deluxe format with bonus material and exclusive sketches from artist R.M. Guera. Collects Scalped #1-11.


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Fifteen years ago, Dashiell "Dash" Bad Horse ran away from a life of abject poverty and utter hopelessness on the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation searching for something better. Now he's come back home armed with nothing but a set of nunchucks, a hell-bent-for-leather attitude and one dark secret, to find nothing much has changed on "The Rez" - short of a glimmering new ca Fifteen years ago, Dashiell "Dash" Bad Horse ran away from a life of abject poverty and utter hopelessness on the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation searching for something better. Now he's come back home armed with nothing but a set of nunchucks, a hell-bent-for-leather attitude and one dark secret, to find nothing much has changed on "The Rez" - short of a glimmering new casino, and a once-proud people overcome by drugs and organized crime. Is he here to set things right or just get a piece of the action? This new collection of this modern classic series from superstar writer Jason Aaron is now in a deluxe format with bonus material and exclusive sketches from artist R.M. Guera. Collects Scalped #1-11.

30 review for Scalped: The Deluxe Edition Book One

  1. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Dashiell Bad Horse resentfully returns to the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation with a pair of nunchucks and a bad attitude, beginning this dark dive into a tough and gritty crime drama and a new world created by Jason Aaron, and I thought this first installment was great. This inciting plot isn't the newest thing you've probably read, with a guy returning to his hometown sparking a whole lotta drama. We've seen that before. But this is Jason Aaron we're talking about here, and he paints a complex Dashiell Bad Horse resentfully returns to the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation with a pair of nunchucks and a bad attitude, beginning this dark dive into a tough and gritty crime drama and a new world created by Jason Aaron, and I thought this first installment was great. This inciting plot isn't the newest thing you've probably read, with a guy returning to his hometown sparking a whole lotta drama. We've seen that before. But this is Jason Aaron we're talking about here, and he paints a complex tapestry the same way he does in his Southern Bastards series. He steadily reveals character and relationships and motivations through flashbacks and shifting POV's, and what you originally think you know about certain characters gets challenged constantly. The art was a little problematic for me though. It was hard to tell certain characters apart and much of the action was messy and difficult to keep track of. Just like in movies, I feel like the rendering of action in comics should be clear and everytime I paused to try and get a sense of what was happening and who was who, it took me out of the story, and that's a problem. With better art I might've given this a better score. But I'm excited about where this story can go.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    I live on a reserve and as an Anishnaabe I found most of this book to be cliched, stereotypical, and filled with tropes. In fact I would say the majority of it was offensive. I am starved for graphic storytelling that helps me to understand who I am. Instead , with this book we get gratuitous violence piled on top of alcoholism and drug abuse piled on top of corrupt politicians and band officials piled upon obscene portrayals of women as “whores”. Aaron did his research. We have plenty of Oglala I live on a reserve and as an Anishnaabe I found most of this book to be cliched, stereotypical, and filled with tropes. In fact I would say the majority of it was offensive. I am starved for graphic storytelling that helps me to understand who I am. Instead , with this book we get gratuitous violence piled on top of alcoholism and drug abuse piled on top of corrupt politicians and band officials piled upon obscene portrayals of women as “whores”. Aaron did his research. We have plenty of Oglala Sioux language, sweat lodge, AIM ( American Indian Movement), and a character resembling Leonard Peltier but all of this is token and inauthentic because as far as I can tell Aaron is not indigenous. We call this syndrome The Hollywood Indian ,a character or set of characters fictionalized by the non indigenous entertainment industry. This book is cowboys and Indians on steroids or more accurately meth. Now don’t get me wrong. My reserve has many social problems that are portrayed in this book. But we also have traditional singers, dancers, environmentalists, activists, Elders, Medicine people, artists, teachers, sweat lodge conductors, storytellers. We also have beautiful children and women that are an antidote to their distorted portrayal in this book. I wanted to read this and recommend it to my 15 year old who is a struggling reader and young Anishnaabe. I just can’t. I’d much prefer he read the following authentic indigenous graphic novels : Moonshot volume 1 and 2 anthologies, Deer Woman anthology, The Outside Circle, or any of the incredible books by David Alexander Robertson. As for the art. It was good but this is coming from Vertigo so I wasn’t surprised. For me my 1/5 is based completely on the storytelling. There are better books to read than this one in my opinion.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cheese

    This has got epic written all over it, but it starts slow, taking you backwards and forwards through time showing important events which have led to today. You can really feel the tensions building after each page. I'm looking forward to seeing it all blow up! This has got epic written all over it, but it starts slow, taking you backwards and forwards through time showing important events which have led to today. You can really feel the tensions building after each page. I'm looking forward to seeing it all blow up!

  4. 5 out of 5

    L. McCoy

    So I finally got around to reading Scalped, the gritty crime story that pretty much everyone loves and I gotta say, it’s a very good read, my picky self had a few problems though. What’s it about? There’s this Indian guy who moves back to the county he grew up in and with there being a controversial new casino opening and a lot of crime happening things get crazy and plot twisty. Pros: The story is very interesting and never gets too boring. The main thing that makes this book good is how interesting So I finally got around to reading Scalped, the gritty crime story that pretty much everyone loves and I gotta say, it’s a very good read, my picky self had a few problems though. What’s it about? There’s this Indian guy who moves back to the county he grew up in and with there being a controversial new casino opening and a lot of crime happening things get crazy and plot twisty. Pros: The story is very interesting and never gets too boring. The main thing that makes this book good is how interesting the characters are and how there’s a variety of personalities in the story. There’s some really good action scenes. This book is very unpredictable. Lots of twists throughout! This book is definitely not a comedy but there are quite a few funny moments. The ending is a great way to end book one. Cons: I didn’t dig the art. It wasn’t horrible, I just wasn’t a fan of it. The dialogue is pretty bad which especially sucks since this book relies so much on dialogue in the storytelling. Holy s***, this book has SO MUCH gratuitous fan service. I normally don’t mind sex and nudity but it had nothing to do with the story and it was all over the f***ing (no pun intended) place and rarely did anything for the story. Overall: This is a very good book that I would recommend to fans of gritty crime dramas and I will be adding more of this series to my reading list. The characters, story and suspense make this a really exciting read, I just hope for better dialogue and less fan service (or at least for it to be there for a reason next time around). 4/5

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aildiin

    It takes a little while to really start and find its rhythm but once that is done this a hell of damn book although not what I expected. At the heart this is the story of a crime committed 30 years ago and how since then it has affected the life of so many people at the Lakota Reservation. Jason Aaron doesn't pull any punch and the story is violent and full of sex. It's full of flash backs too and they help build the background of characters and quickly we realize there is no black and white and t It takes a little while to really start and find its rhythm but once that is done this a hell of damn book although not what I expected. At the heart this is the story of a crime committed 30 years ago and how since then it has affected the life of so many people at the Lakota Reservation. Jason Aaron doesn't pull any punch and the story is violent and full of sex. It's full of flash backs too and they help build the background of characters and quickly we realize there is no black and white and the story is a lot more complex than it appears. If the next books are as good as this I will quickly be pulling out the 5 stars !

  6. 4 out of 5

    RG

    This has to be my favourite Aaron story that I've read. Dash returns back home to the reservation angry and becomes involved in the world of Red Crow and the local new casino. It jumps around timeline wise with with gritty action crime scenes with loads of violence drug use and sex. The artwork is great and really helps provide the noirish feel. Great read and I highly reccomend this one. This has to be my favourite Aaron story that I've read. Dash returns back home to the reservation angry and becomes involved in the world of Red Crow and the local new casino. It jumps around timeline wise with with gritty action crime scenes with loads of violence drug use and sex. The artwork is great and really helps provide the noirish feel. Great read and I highly reccomend this one.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Quintin Zimmermann

    Scalped is a visceral tour de force into the badlands, both physically and metaphorically. The gritty, punched up artwork accentuates the dialogue and the multi-threaded plot careens towards perdition. There is no clear divide between the proverbial "good guys" and "bad guys". Rather each character grapples with their own inner demons in hopes of taking a right turn towards redemption. Scalped is sublime in its execution, it doesn't shy away from dealing with harrowing issues and never seeks to deh Scalped is a visceral tour de force into the badlands, both physically and metaphorically. The gritty, punched up artwork accentuates the dialogue and the multi-threaded plot careens towards perdition. There is no clear divide between the proverbial "good guys" and "bad guys". Rather each character grapples with their own inner demons in hopes of taking a right turn towards redemption. Scalped is sublime in its execution, it doesn't shy away from dealing with harrowing issues and never seeks to dehumanise the many broken people that litter the landscape. Scalped may start slow, there is also some uneven pacing, but that is understandable for a story that spans 60 issues, a labour of love, four years in the making. To sum up in one word: brilliant!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    Lot of time jumps and POV changes in this one so you have to really settle in and let the story grow before you, if you do the reward is a hand-hold on a long-arc. Aaron knows how to keep the present action moving while also building character depth through timely backstories. The characters are all loaded with rage and a deep well of motives so that the intensity rattles every scene. The art gets muddy at times and that makes it hard to always recognize quickly who's doing what, that's really t Lot of time jumps and POV changes in this one so you have to really settle in and let the story grow before you, if you do the reward is a hand-hold on a long-arc. Aaron knows how to keep the present action moving while also building character depth through timely backstories. The characters are all loaded with rage and a deep well of motives so that the intensity rattles every scene. The art gets muddy at times and that makes it hard to always recognize quickly who's doing what, that's really the only thing that slows down the pacing. This series promises a lot. Looking forward to Book Two.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dominick

    Meh. This series has apparently been highly praised, but the first volume of the deluxe edition (the first eleven issues plus minimal extras) did not overly impress me. Aaron seems to have done his research--a lot of fact lies beneath this story, as far as I can tell--but he puts it in the service of a shallow narrative few elements of which will surprise anyone with much of a thriller/noir grounding. I knew I was in trouble when I figured out instantly that our hero, Dash, was really some kind Meh. This series has apparently been highly praised, but the first volume of the deluxe edition (the first eleven issues plus minimal extras) did not overly impress me. Aaron seems to have done his research--a lot of fact lies beneath this story, as far as I can tell--but he puts it in the service of a shallow narrative few elements of which will surprise anyone with much of a thriller/noir grounding. I knew I was in trouble when I figured out instantly that our hero, Dash, was really some kind of undercover agent, planted on the reserve to nail the corrupt (of course) Chief, who has lined his own pockets dealing drugs (of course) and alcohol (of course), and building a casino (0f course)--and (of course) he has a whore/femme fatale (of course--Aaron even describes her as one in the early script included at the end) daughter with whom Dash was in love as a teenager (of course). Not that drugs and alcohol are not problems for FNMI communities, and not that casinos are not common enough on reserves, but this books reads more like a collection of tropes and cliches than an original story. Just about everyone is a bad-ass posturer, a racist douchebag, a committed radical, etc--there's no room here for nuance or complex characterization. When I got to the one chapter that is just a slice of life account of a day for one of the minor characters and liked that exponentially more than the rest of it, the problems with this book coalesced. Aaron is just trying way too hard, most of the time, to give us a hyperkinetic Tarantino on amphetamines sort of story (right down to the temporally fragmented narrative--reading this comic in its original serial installments must have been a baffling experience), without possessing Tarantino's wit or sense of pacing. Even Tarantino's incessant pop culture referencing is a feature here, though not to particularly good effect (e.g. Chief Red Crow refers to one of his grandparents surviving fighting in WWII only to drown, drunk, in three inches of water in a ditch--a pretty direct lift from Johnny Cash's "The Ballad of Ira Hayes," but with no larger point or purpose to it that I can see, other than the clever obscurity of the reference). As for the "Deluxe" format, well, hard covers are nice, but the extras are minimal: some promotional art, cover images, and what appears to be an early draft of chapter one, but with no contextualizing comments to explain that, or why Aaron chose to provide that draft script. The introduction by Brian K. Vaughan is not terribly elucidating, either. For undiscriminating fans of thrillers driven primarily by hyper-violence, rather than logic. (Well, okay, thrillers are rarely mind-oriented, but still, most aren't quite this devoid of sense.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Blindzider

    Pretty impressive. It has a lot more depth to it than I was expecting. Aaron touches on quite a few topics here without being preachy, including: the plight of the Native America, gun violence, how events in a childhood can completely drive someone's behavior as an adult. Note that it does have, dare I say it, Aaron's trademark for violence, although I wouldn't say he's exploiting it. His story requires it and there is quite a bit of foul language for anyone concerned. The art is fairly dark, both Pretty impressive. It has a lot more depth to it than I was expecting. Aaron touches on quite a few topics here without being preachy, including: the plight of the Native America, gun violence, how events in a childhood can completely drive someone's behavior as an adult. Note that it does have, dare I say it, Aaron's trademark for violence, although I wouldn't say he's exploiting it. His story requires it and there is quite a bit of foul language for anyone concerned. The art is fairly dark, both in the use of inks and blacks as well as the subject content. At times I felt it was too dark, making it hard to see some details and occasionally it was difficult to tell which charcacter you were looking at. At the same time, it is also appropriate for the story. There's some heavy topics intertwined here. One other thing to be aware of, this Book One does not finish the first arc. It ends on a cliffhanger so it's off to buy Book Two for me. I'm curious to see how this ends, however, I'm not sure how this can be dragged out for much longer because there are at least Books Three and Four out there. Won't say I'm in it for the long haul yet but definitely worth picking up the next collection to continue reading.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    Wow! It's hard to know where to begin. Dashiell Bad Horse returns to the reservation where he grew up, full of bad attitude and anger. He draws the attention of Red Crow, the man responsible for building a new casino that's set to open soon, and who's known to be involved in shady business. Dash ends up with more than he bargained for, specifically a gun, badge, and brand new job policing the reservation. There's more going on than is apparent at first glance. Not everyone is who they say they a Wow! It's hard to know where to begin. Dashiell Bad Horse returns to the reservation where he grew up, full of bad attitude and anger. He draws the attention of Red Crow, the man responsible for building a new casino that's set to open soon, and who's known to be involved in shady business. Dash ends up with more than he bargained for, specifically a gun, badge, and brand new job policing the reservation. There's more going on than is apparent at first glance. Not everyone is who they say they are, and a shooting of two FBI officers in the 70's turns out to have some far-reaching repercussions ... This is a gritty, street-level crime drama with an unfamiliar (it was to me, anyway) setting. Aaron seems to have done his research. His reservation and all the characters who inhabit it feel real. Yes, there's quite a bit of sex and violence in this book. If that startles you, what part of "gritty crime drama" do you not understand? The story is being told somewhat out of sequence, but Aaron is pretty good about providing enough cues to keep things from getting too confusing. R.M. Guera's artwork is suitably noir-ish and gritty. This is not, by any means, your typical comic book, and that's a good thing. Highly recommended!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Taylor Cayes

    I was a little skeptical of this series going in, but it really rings true. You'd think Sherman Alexie had a hand in it. Jason Aaron does a great job depicting rez life. The dialogue is on point, the pacing is great, and it touches on a lot of modern aspects as well as federal-Native relations back in the 1970s, old attitudes towards "killing the Indian" in children at schools, 19th century history, and traditional Lakota beliefs. R. M. Guera proves he is not your run-of-the-mill Vertigo artist. I was a little skeptical of this series going in, but it really rings true. You'd think Sherman Alexie had a hand in it. Jason Aaron does a great job depicting rez life. The dialogue is on point, the pacing is great, and it touches on a lot of modern aspects as well as federal-Native relations back in the 1970s, old attitudes towards "killing the Indian" in children at schools, 19th century history, and traditional Lakota beliefs. R. M. Guera proves he is not your run-of-the-mill Vertigo artist. His expressions are visceral and he effectively emphasizes all the important aspects of a panel. His style is reminiscent of the best of Frank Miller's old work, but uniquely his own. Even the color palette of Loughridge and Brusco is admirable. The original Jock covers are a treat, as well. I'm happy to see this get the Deluxe treatment it deserves. The cover designs and even the original script to the first issue are interesting extras.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Omar Alhashimi

    Wow. That was epic, gritty, and real. What this comic has that others dont is a sense of reality. It is not sugar-coated. The characters feel real, because they are all flawed in their own way and they act the way actual people would, not perfect comic characters. The art, i thought I would hate. But I realized very quickly on that it is perfect for the story and is actually really well drawn. Unfortunately I started with the deluxe version which combines 2 volumes into one big book, so I'm goin Wow. That was epic, gritty, and real. What this comic has that others dont is a sense of reality. It is not sugar-coated. The characters feel real, because they are all flawed in their own way and they act the way actual people would, not perfect comic characters. The art, i thought I would hate. But I realized very quickly on that it is perfect for the story and is actually really well drawn. Unfortunately I started with the deluxe version which combines 2 volumes into one big book, so I'm going to have to continue getting the deluxe versions. Which means online shopping is in my future. Anyway the book is really good, and filled with so many twists and turns you wouldn't be able to guess what would happen next. 5/5

  14. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    I thought it was very good. A number of strong stories with complex characters. Dark noir, with a lot of action. My one complaint is that the story jumped from past to present numerous times. It was usually pretty well indicated but I thought it could have been clearer. I would have preferred fewer flashbacks, although the story certainly turns on an old crime and therefore that had to be shown. Great dialogue. The art is very strong. I'll probably be reading more in this series. I thought it was very good. A number of strong stories with complex characters. Dark noir, with a lot of action. My one complaint is that the story jumped from past to present numerous times. It was usually pretty well indicated but I thought it could have been clearer. I would have preferred fewer flashbacks, although the story certainly turns on an old crime and therefore that had to be shown. Great dialogue. The art is very strong. I'll probably be reading more in this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lukas Sumper

    Its more brutal than expected, but it keeps one interested with a very well plotted good ol crime story. I don't wanna spoil anything so I'll keep it vague. The first half you really just get that.. a good crime story with some twists, some backgrounds of the older characters and flashbacks, those were well done and like its too often the case I found myself more interested in the past stories than the current ongoing ones. I really would not recommend it to most, unless they are looking for the Its more brutal than expected, but it keeps one interested with a very well plotted good ol crime story. I don't wanna spoil anything so I'll keep it vague. The first half you really just get that.. a good crime story with some twists, some backgrounds of the older characters and flashbacks, those were well done and like its too often the case I found myself more interested in the past stories than the current ongoing ones. I really would not recommend it to most, unless they are looking for the graphical gore stuff, because on that front it doesn't hold back, not even for animals. The characters are a tad bit stereotypical which segways into my problem with scalped, it could've been more about the native's culture at least thats what I expected going in. The setting was right and 2 characters are kind of capturing that cultural aspect a bit although again stereotypical, but with the other characters it seemed irrelevant as they literally could've been drawn as any other ethnicity without changing much. The art stands out as the clear winner here, sometimes I just took my time to really take in every panel on the page, as it was drawn and colored beautifully, just for that alone its worth its price. It is more like a good crime story with an Native american setting tacked on it, which is why I'll give it an 4 out of 5 stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Manish

    I never knew about the 'Reservation' system in the US administration. It's basically a piece of land governed by a tribal representative and populated mostly by native Indians. The setting in Scalped is one such reservation of South Dakota. Bad Horse - an undercover FBI agent with a troubled past infiltrates Red Crow's - the administrator of the reservation - inner ring. In the first edition, we have gritty action sequences, flashes of the histories of most of the characters, alcoholism and meth I never knew about the 'Reservation' system in the US administration. It's basically a piece of land governed by a tribal representative and populated mostly by native Indians. The setting in Scalped is one such reservation of South Dakota. Bad Horse - an undercover FBI agent with a troubled past infiltrates Red Crow's - the administrator of the reservation - inner ring. In the first edition, we have gritty action sequences, flashes of the histories of most of the characters, alcoholism and meth fueled violence in big dollop. The most fleshed out character seemed to be Dark Horse's mother Gina who had a past with Red Crow - only to be disowned by her son and wandering with the pain of a shootout which went awry years back. Waiting for the second volume to arrive!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Abdallah Mohamud

    The art and the flow of the panels are impressive, Guéra did a very good job. As for the story, I enjoyed the silent parts, where the characters moved around without uttering a word. The style reminded me of 100 Bullets and that's something that attracts me to the series. The art and the flow of the panels are impressive, Guéra did a very good job. As for the story, I enjoyed the silent parts, where the characters moved around without uttering a word. The style reminded me of 100 Bullets and that's something that attracts me to the series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    stonecoldcomics

    Starts off slow but I can see it building up on plot and I really like the attention for side characters and fleshing them out to make this world feel lived in I’ll read on and see where it goes

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nicolas Bateman

    Unsurprisingly for a book by Jason Aaron (Wolverine and the X-Men, Southern Bastards, Star Wars) this book captivated me from issue #1. Violent, gritty and therefore oh so human, Jason has an approach to developing characters that probably makes him one of the best American comics writer of his generation. Let yourself be tempted by the story of the uber-badass (and nevertheless so weak and flawed) Dashiell Bad Horse, you will not regret it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Camilo

    3.5 stars

  21. 5 out of 5

    Britton

    I had friends who swore by this series, as well as my local comic shop guy, and Youtubers that I watch who like to talk about comics, so I was quite excited to get into this series. In fact, some of the first reviews that I read on this site before I myself starting using it were of this series. Then I found a certain review of this series that so shocked me by its forceful use of its voice and language that, for one, I had to go out and find this guy and befriend him, as I was quite impressed w I had friends who swore by this series, as well as my local comic shop guy, and Youtubers that I watch who like to talk about comics, so I was quite excited to get into this series. In fact, some of the first reviews that I read on this site before I myself starting using it were of this series. Then I found a certain review of this series that so shocked me by its forceful use of its voice and language that, for one, I had to go out and find this guy and befriend him, as I was quite impressed with this review, and two, ruining a lot of chances for me to enjoy this series, as I couldn't get his opinions out of my head. So for that, I thank you Keely. I've grown quite fond of Aaron through my readings of him, some of his works have given me a lot of joy and fun over these last few years. Though it's quite interesting to see him at an earlier point of his career, still finding himself as a writer, sadly I find that Scalped represents some of the lesser aspects of a debut, rather than the more stronger aspects of one. Scalped seems unsteady, unpolished, and unsure of itself. Aaron hasn't quite come into his own voice here, and seems to be borrowing (quite liberally I might add) from some of his inspirations. At once we see Ennis' influence on this series, and then Miller's and yet, we don't see the strengths of those two's most celebrated work. Aaron shares Ennis' penchant for over the top extremes, though Aaron can't quite match Ennis' skill for merging his extremes with his storytelling in a natural way until later on in the series. Scalped seems jarring to read at times with its chaotic pacing and constantly switching around from scene A to scene B. It's one of those cases where I find that if he had a good editor on his side, assuaging his more wild tendencies and focusing him in the right direction, then the series would've had a much stronger outing when it first began. Luckily, this jarred pacing does lighten up as the series moves along, and Aaron gains some more confidence in his voice. The central idea of Scalped is strong, and the set ups of these characters was also strong, so I suppose it's why I kept with it, to see if this potential paid off in any way and in some ways it does. I was particularly fond of the one off stories focusing on the many characters who live in 'The Rez' as it's known, getting inside their heads and seeing their motivations as to why they are the way that they are. I was particularly intrigued by the story of Red Crow, the Native activist turned crime lord, I was fascinated by the internal conflict that he struggles through as the series goes on, and I was compelled as his story went on. It shows the Aaron that I've come to know, the one who likes to muddy the waters about who is good and evil in his stories and often makes who you root for much more complicated in the process. The series continues to improve as Aaron continues to find his stride, though its still flawed in several ways. The pacing ends up becoming more streamlined as Aaron continues to roll along, finding his voice. But he never quite gets to the heights that he would eventually when he would go to write Southern Bastards, yet we do see the signs of the later Aaron as we go along, leading to an ending that left me melancholic, but also empty. Yet, it was an ending that was rather fitting to this series: not quite at its peak, but almost. Guera's art is also intriguing, it has the classic 'Vertigo look' in terms of its color palate and texture, but it also is rather fitting for the series, having a style that's moody while also being ugly and decadent, much like the Rez that the series takes place in. But like with Aaron's writing, I find that the art never quite reaches its full potential, I often found it off-putting and shoddy as much as it was evocative and occasionally rich. As said before, it is quite curious to see Aaron at the beginning of his career, still in the cusp of finding his voice, still finding his way through the Rez, and seeing where the journey takes him along the way. Scalped is an incomplete work (thematically). But it does show Aaron slowly coming to his own, and giving us a hint of the greatness that Aaron would eventually prove himself to be capable of.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dustin Steinacker

    Jason Aaron's Southern Bastards might just be my favorite graphic novel series. I love the way it dives into its unspecified Southern anytown from top to bottom without much in the way of a direct story, humanizing and harrowing in equal measure. Every arc throws you into a new side character, a new vignette, leaving you to find your footing until you love each new sidestory and perspective - even and specially the villains'. Scalped is superficially cut from the same cloth, and those who like mo Jason Aaron's Southern Bastards might just be my favorite graphic novel series. I love the way it dives into its unspecified Southern anytown from top to bottom without much in the way of a direct story, humanizing and harrowing in equal measure. Every arc throws you into a new side character, a new vignette, leaving you to find your footing until you love each new sidestory and perspective - even and specially the villains'. Scalped is superficially cut from the same cloth, and those who like more fiber in their plot might prefer it overall, because it's more committed to its double agent story. But it didn't quite come together for me. I couldn't click with the protagonist Dashiell Bad Horse, not because he's genuinely a violent misanthrope who couldn't really care less himself what happens (Lord knows I loved Esaw Goings in SB), but because I felt like his backstory was trying to pull the weight in making him interesting where his character and actions failed. Dash also lacks a proper antagonist. There's his mother Gina, who despises what he's become and wants to redeem and reconnect with him, but what is there to reconnect with? I don't see a hint of anything in Dash I fear him losing, or want preserved. There's his criminal boss Lincoln Red Crow, who on paper ought to bring the tension, but this story isn't about the cat-and-mouse game and Dash doesn't have many interactions with him or his associates outside of wrapping up a job or being given a new one. And at this point in the narrative, Dash hasn't demonstrated enough depth for man vs. self to become a factor. Ultimately, this story is about the older generation, the former activists-in-arms who have been changed by the decades, and found their struggle changing around them. Gina Bad Horse and Lincoln Red Crow are stellar characters, and as old friends and rivals their ideological clash serves as the mission statement for the book (in the same way that the "love-hate" premise of Southern Bastards defined its treatment of the American South). How does a person reclaim their dignity in the midst of so much poverty and desperation and dehumanization, in what is essentially a multi-century ongoing colonial occupation? That question, and this setting, begs for more treatment in fiction, and for its initial story weaknesses I'll be continuing this series. Toward the end of this volume a variety of side characters start getting fleshed out (particularly Dino Poor Bear, who I'm hoping wasn't just a one-issue diversion), which could change all of those complaints above to "it's a bit of a slow burn."

  23. 4 out of 5

    OmniBen

    (Zero spoiler review) Boy, I don't know how on earth this book doesn't have more buzz about it. It may be almost ten years old, but when people reminisce on some of the greatest Vertigo titles of years gone by, I have never once heard this book brought up. I wouldn't have even heard about it if I hadn't happened to be flicking through a very old single online, and happened to come across an ad for the series, along with a few pages, and was intrigued enough to grab the first book. Admittedly, the (Zero spoiler review) Boy, I don't know how on earth this book doesn't have more buzz about it. It may be almost ten years old, but when people reminisce on some of the greatest Vertigo titles of years gone by, I have never once heard this book brought up. I wouldn't have even heard about it if I hadn't happened to be flicking through a very old single online, and happened to come across an ad for the series, along with a few pages, and was intrigued enough to grab the first book. Admittedly, there are more than a few hallowed titles which grave the Vertigo roster, but this can go toe to toe with the best of them. This was my first foray into the writing of Jason Aaron. He has gone on to write a number of well received superhero runs. If this book was the catalyst to shoot his star up the ranks, I can very much see why. His is a style I found instantly appealing. Gritty, realistic and very, very dark. Like Garth Ennis, although a little more grounded, though no less impactful. ha alone should have you wanting to dive into this series, which runs for a whopping 60 issues in total, across five deluxe collected editions (only 1-3 are currently available unless you hunt down the hardcovers in the wild. I would love for DC to do a big ol' fat omnibus of this series in the near future, although we'll either get nothing, or a bloody compendium, no doubt. Damn you DC, and your ambivalence towards your amazing back catalogue. The artwork is solid, and grew on me more and more as the series progressed. In earlier issues, I often struggled to discern what was occurring, especially on darker panels, with the linework and inking not doing enough to tell the story, though by the end of the first book, I was sold on the art and its more murky, grungy style. I can't speak for the entire run yet, although R.M Guerra, the artist and co creator ahs so far pencilled every issue, which is always a big plus. The story is very well told through a series of interesting characters, whom only grew on me as the story unfolded. Aaron isn't afraid to take this to some pretty dark and dispiriting places, and I love that it does, whilst mourning that more comic books aren't afraid to push these boundaries these days. Maybe its good that this series flies under the radar. it would definitely come in for some heavy criticism from those modern progressives whom have ensconced themselves within so much of the entertainment industries. I am so grateful I found this little gem of a series, and cannot wait to dig deeper into the tumultuous, intoxicating world of Dashiel Bad Horse. Highly recommended. 4.5/5 OmniBen.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Scalped was one of the first “independent” comic books I ever read and it set the bar high for what a creator owned series could be. Created by Jason Aaron and beautifully illustrated by R.M. Guéra, this Deluxe Edition collects the first 11 issues of this incredibly crime/western hybrid. Set in and around the fictional Prairie Rose Indian Reservation in South Dakota the narrative centers on Dashiell “Dash” Bad Horse, a troubled man who returns after many years away from the reservation. Aaron po Scalped was one of the first “independent” comic books I ever read and it set the bar high for what a creator owned series could be. Created by Jason Aaron and beautifully illustrated by R.M. Guéra, this Deluxe Edition collects the first 11 issues of this incredibly crime/western hybrid. Set in and around the fictional Prairie Rose Indian Reservation in South Dakota the narrative centers on Dashiell “Dash” Bad Horse, a troubled man who returns after many years away from the reservation. Aaron populates Prairie Rose with a diverse cast of engaging characters. Chief Lincoln Red Crow is the primary antagonist but as details about his backstory are revealed, he sometimes comes across as a surprisingly sympathetic character. Guéra creates a highly detailed world that effectively captures the state of decay and crime that has crippled the Reservation. This volume sees the opening of a brand new casino which is effectively contrasted with the surrounding poverty of the majority of the inhabitants. The series focuses on issues related to corruption, local politics, indigenous identity and the impact of the past on the present. Aaron provides some of the best dialogue of any comic series in a style I found reminiscent of films such as Casino. They truly do not make comics like this anymore, with a lengthy run and consistent creative team. Worth experiencing for the first time or as a reread of an exceptional narrative with enough twists and turns to keep things interesting all the way through to the end of Deluxe Volume 5.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Terry Murphy

    There's just something about Jason Aaron. I come across writers sometimes, like the day I discovered Brian K. Vaughan with 'The Hood', ir when I discovered Elmore Leonard and 'Freaky Deaky'. It's the realization that I want to read everything that the writer has to say. Jason Aaron has done that to me. When I first read something of his months ago, it just unveiled jn my head and I knew that I had to follow him around, like some lovesick groupie. 'Scalped' is a title I knew about, and had been rec There's just something about Jason Aaron. I come across writers sometimes, like the day I discovered Brian K. Vaughan with 'The Hood', ir when I discovered Elmore Leonard and 'Freaky Deaky'. It's the realization that I want to read everything that the writer has to say. Jason Aaron has done that to me. When I first read something of his months ago, it just unveiled jn my head and I knew that I had to follow him around, like some lovesick groupie. 'Scalped' is a title I knew about, and had been recommended to me for years. I put it off, like I often do, because I worry that populist sentiment means that the story is never quite as great as folks make it out to be. And then I discovered Aaron and worried that this title, his biggest work yet, wouldn't be as grand as some of the other stuff I'd tried. Lord, was I wrong. The story that he builds is blistering and raw. It feels like a no-bullshit account of what is happening all over North America in our smaller Indigenous Nations cities. The characters spark and sizzle and tear at each other and I am absolutely stung. Now I need to hold off and not read this *too* quickly, because I want it to last. Read this one. Please.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I was immediately drawn to the cover of this graphic novel and from the brief synopsis on the back it was giving me Breaking Bad-esque so it was a must buy for me. Overall, I enjoyed Scalped. It's gritty, violent, suspenseful. Everything you could ever want in a noir crime story. However, the constant flashbacks ranging from 40 years ago to 8 hours ago created a disjointedness with the plot. Yes, it aided in the mystery and suspense, but stunted the flow of the plot. Scalped depicts Native Americ I was immediately drawn to the cover of this graphic novel and from the brief synopsis on the back it was giving me Breaking Bad-esque so it was a must buy for me. Overall, I enjoyed Scalped. It's gritty, violent, suspenseful. Everything you could ever want in a noir crime story. However, the constant flashbacks ranging from 40 years ago to 8 hours ago created a disjointedness with the plot. Yes, it aided in the mystery and suspense, but stunted the flow of the plot. Scalped depicts Native American Reservation issues such as organized crime, poverty, and alcoholism, but is told through the eyes of a non-Native. This gives me wonder into it's authenicity and potential appropriation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. With that being said, I cannot make that judgement and must educate myself further through reviews.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tanvir Muntasim

    I had high expectations from the book, especially as I enjoyed 'Southern Bastards' from the same writer. Also, the premise reminded me of one of my favourite TV series 'Banshee'. While it wasn't bad, it didn't come close to meeting the expectations. What got on my nerves was all the macho posturing, especially when half of all the conversations seemed to expletives, and the use of non-linear timeline turned out to be mostly a gimmick for elevating the pretension of a complex, multi-layered story I had high expectations from the book, especially as I enjoyed 'Southern Bastards' from the same writer. Also, the premise reminded me of one of my favourite TV series 'Banshee'. While it wasn't bad, it didn't come close to meeting the expectations. What got on my nerves was all the macho posturing, especially when half of all the conversations seemed to expletives, and the use of non-linear timeline turned out to be mostly a gimmick for elevating the pretension of a complex, multi-layered story. The saving grace was the insights into the everyday lives of a reservation resident, but it was too little to late. Unlikely to continue with the series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nigel

    I mean, I think it can be safely said that Scalped shows a great deal of sympathy for the plight of Native Americans, but for the most part the characters are divided up into those who succumb to the paralysing poisons of poverty, ignorance and despair and those who drift or charge or are pushed into a brutal and violent life of crime. There are a few sad relics of radical sixties idealism around, and it's their failures which drive the plot, so all in all it's a relentlessly grim and squalid st I mean, I think it can be safely said that Scalped shows a great deal of sympathy for the plight of Native Americans, but for the most part the characters are divided up into those who succumb to the paralysing poisons of poverty, ignorance and despair and those who drift or charge or are pushed into a brutal and violent life of crime. There are a few sad relics of radical sixties idealism around, and it's their failures which drive the plot, so all in all it's a relentlessly grim and squalid story, with only occasional glimpses of humanity. I'm not sure I'd be thrilled if someone came into my community and told this kind of story about it, but who knows? Perhaps the anger at the results of injustice and neglect and racial prejudice is the important thing to take away from Scalped, aside from the crazy violent story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Garrison

    In 2019, the tone and language of this book wouldn’t work quite like it might have a decade back, but the character detail and use of jumping past/present is really well done. It probably missed the window for a television series, but it flows so well and would work perfectly in that format. The art isn’t my preferred style, but it matches the gritty tone and setting of the story. It’s one of only a handful of comics where nearly every single character is both a complete mess and yet a character In 2019, the tone and language of this book wouldn’t work quite like it might have a decade back, but the character detail and use of jumping past/present is really well done. It probably missed the window for a television series, but it flows so well and would work perfectly in that format. The art isn’t my preferred style, but it matches the gritty tone and setting of the story. It’s one of only a handful of comics where nearly every single character is both a complete mess and yet a character I find myself sympathizing for. 4.25

  30. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    I don't know what you tell you. It's harsh, but exceeding good. Like Mccarthy or The Coen Brothers, or any other neo-noir nu-Western mythology, it's a familiar fantasy and one that Aaron and Guerra expertly conjure. One of the best genre comics of the past 25 years, and probably a bit problematic nowadays too. Like I said, I don't know what to tell you. "And once we've claimed what's due us, then all those people shot, stabbed, scalped, hanged and buried along the way..won't have died in vain. An I don't know what you tell you. It's harsh, but exceeding good. Like Mccarthy or The Coen Brothers, or any other neo-noir nu-Western mythology, it's a familiar fantasy and one that Aaron and Guerra expertly conjure. One of the best genre comics of the past 25 years, and probably a bit problematic nowadays too. Like I said, I don't know what to tell you. "And once we've claimed what's due us, then all those people shot, stabbed, scalped, hanged and buried along the way..won't have died in vain. And for the first time in far too long... My dreams might again outnumber my regrets."

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