All the time I was ready Scalped I was wondering how it was that FX had not optioned this comic book as a TV series. It would have made for an excellent counterpoint to Justified with it’s bleak setting, but from the very different setting of a Native American reservation instead of the Appalachians. Then I saw that another channel, one I had never heard of, did just that but dropped it after seeing the pilot. What a shame.
Scalped is one of those comics that I know I want to get back to. Reading 20 issues in very quick succession is a bit much. This isn’t a comic that is easy to digest in long sittings. The setting is bleak, being set in a reservation that has major issues with drugs and alcoholism where the chief is opening up a casino and running a corrupt police force. Like, there is very little hope to cling to – which is the point of the series to be fair.
We start out with the return of Dash Bad Horse who, unbeknownst to everyone on the reservation, is an undercover FBI agent who has been strong-armed into finding those who shot down two FBI agents some 15 years earlier. Many of the comics fall into a ‘crime of the batch’ style storytelling with some character development happening in the background.
What makes this different to a number of comics I have read so far is that Native American element and how much Dash struggles with his own sense of identity. This is a man who is 100% Ogala Lakota, but has chosen most of his life to reject his heritage and is now in a position where he is having to face what that means to him through the murder of his mother, the rekindling of an old flame and just general osmosis.
It makes for an interesting read that is permeated with other characters who bring the more traditional side in through folk stories and ritual that have had to adapt to being surrounded by the white man. Like I said, I read too much of it in too little time so am now a little bit burned out – but I am interested to see how everything progresses.