October 31, 2008

3rd SCALPED volume = masterpiece?

Please Read ScalpedWith the third volume, the series has made a quantum leap. What was an excellent series has moved in to the realm of masterpiece. Your life is less rich for not reading it. This is a series that you need to read and recommend to your friends. We need to make sure that this series lasts as long as possible and that Jason Aaron is the one who decides when it ends.

Scalped tells the story of Dashiell Bad Horse. After an extended absence, he returns to the Indian reservation he left as a young man. He is taken under the wing of the local tribal strongman/casino boss and he becomes a part of the tribal police department. His estranged mother is still on the reservation and leading a faction of Indians who oppose the casino. The major twist (revealed at the end of the first issue) is that Dashiell is an undercover FBI agent sent in on what is essentially a suicide mission to take down the tribal boss.

The third volume also has what has to be one of the most powerful visual sequences I have ever read in comics. It is at the end of the second chapter of the trade paperback. Dashiell has to tell several children that their mother is dead. If anyone is wondering why thought balloons are no longer needed (a debate I have been active in on Digital Webbing), just look at that.
What I bought--22 October 2008The third trade, “Dead Mothers,” finally came out last week, so I could start reading the single issues #19-22 that I had bought but not read. I wanted to start buying the singles because the book sells so poorly, but I admit I’m torn, because the trades are so nice to read.

I hope that Scalped has reached the point (three trades out, 22 issues in the can) where DC can see if the trade sales are good enough to justify continuing the poorly-selling singles. That would be nice. I guess I’ll keep buying the monthlies, just to do my small part keeping it alive. But the trades are quite good, and I urge you to track them down.
Comment:  If SCALPED has become a "masterpiece," I may have to give it another try.

Of course, you can't expect any comic that takes 19 issues to reach the "masterpiece" level to be selling well. Next time Jason Aaron writes a Native-themed comic, maybe he'll drop the gratuitous, Sopranos-style sex and violence and get to the real story in an issue or two.

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