December 29, 2009

SCALPED = comic of the year?

'Scalped' is year's top series, & The Rez is history

By Jerome Maida[I]n a year in which there were more quality titles on shelves than ever, and in which the sophistication of storytelling reached a new peak on the majority of them, the choice for Series of the Year was easy to make.

Nothing else comes close to "Scalped."

Writer of the Year Jason Aaron also penned some fine tales featuring Wolverine and Ghost Rider, but he would have won easily just due to his work on "Scalped."

Aaron uses the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation--a.k.a. "The Rez"--as a unique, fertile ground to tell fresh stories that are unmistakably his own.

He depicts those on "The Rez" as the defiant descendants of a once-proud people, who have survived more than a century of mistreatment by the American government, which put Indian tribes on the least desirable pieces of land and then, to paraphrase one character, forgot about them except when there was a John Wayne movie to film or a war to fight.

One man who is determined to overcome the odds of living on The Rez and not only survive but thrive is Chief Red Crow, the crime boss around whom everything in the book revolves. Seeing what "legitimate" institutions have done for his people, Red Crow is determined to use his power, money and influence to open a brand new casino that he bets will not only allow him to achieve the American Dream, but improve the lives of everyone on "The Rez."
Apparently the main character is still a murderer:Near the end of the year, this explosive set of personalities seemed ready to blow--and then Red Crow put gasoline on the fire by shooting an unarmed soldier of rival crime boss Johnny Tongue--who had helped Red Crow finance the casino.Comment:  These days tribal leaders can't get away with tax evasion, much less murder. If there were a hint of a tribal chairman's being a killer, the FBI would swarm over the tribe's government and probably shut it down.

So SCALPED's basic premise continues to be unrealistic and stereotypical. Indians as "savage" criminals, thugs, and lowlifes...ho hum.

Other than that, the writing and art may be swell. From what I've seen of them, they're both above average.

For more on the subject, see Comic Books Featuring Indians.