2.29.12 Review

Scalped #56 (DC/Vertigo): Yeah, SPOILER ALERT or whatever… One of my favorite TV shows was Six Feet Under on HBO. It’s right up there with The West Wing and Game of Thrones as favorite shows of all time. One of the amazing things they did on that show was flash forward in the very last episode in order to gain some perspective on the evolving arcs of the main characters. It really resonated. I see Jason Aaron doing the same thing here by skipping ahead just 8 months. So much activity is transpiring, Sheriff Falls Down is seen supporting the rebuilding of the Gina Bad Horse Community Center in the shadow of Lincoln Red Crow being arrested by former FBI Agent Dash Bad Horse. While Lincoln is incarcerated facing charges ranging from money laundering, to corruption, to murder (and I gotta’ believe the Feds would try to pin more on him than that under the RICO law), we fly through so many rich characters. Nitz is living it up, Dash is being characterized as equal parts hero and traitor by the media – eager to pin a label on him without understanding the nuance of the situation, Catcher is still “missing,” and Carol, oh, sweet, sweet Carol. That scene broke my heart. Dash seems like a changed man attempting to make peace with himself, with his life on the rez, and with both of his dead parents. Meanwhile, Red Crow has a huge decision to make while incarcerated. He could easily help his case by introducing Dash’s involvement in any number of drug, murder, or missing FBI Agent charges (Diesel!), but like Matthew Roth in DMZ he also has to feel that someone, some man, is held accountable for everything that went down. Maybe he’s that man. I guess this isn’t so much a critique as much as it is a plot summary, but it’s hard to be critical of a book I’ve loved for years finally coming to its conclusion. There’s equal parts hope and heartbreak here, no good guys, no bad guys, just people with different paths and motivations trying to make things right as they see them. Scalped was never just a Native American story, but an American story, a little microcosm of the breakdown of the larger society it’s a part of. About how things get fucked up despite our best intentions. This first installment of the final arc, “Trail’s End,” definitely has that somber feel, that Jason Aaron and RM Guera are closing down all these various story threads for characters we have so much invested in, in a very emotionally satisfying way, one that stays true to the book’s true colors. Grade A.


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