Monday, 8 March 2010

Scalped 34

Scalped is the fantastic creator owned series written by Jason Aaron with the majority being drawn by R.M. Guera. The book is based mainly around the exploits of an undercover FBI agent operating within a Native American reservation.

The final issue of the five-part “The Gnawing” arc is exactly the way you expect one of the best books on the market to finish its best story to date. The issue starts as it means to go on - answering questions and leaving a bloody trail in its wake. The beating on the very first page is nothing compared to what we see later on in the issue and as usual Aaron uses the violence to drive his story forwards rather than to just fill his page count.

A true sign of Aaron’s writing skill is how readers have learnt to love Dash Bad Horse, Scalped’s main protagonist no matter what his actions. His actions in this issue, though more brutal than usual, are going to re-affirm most people’s feelings about him. This is due to the fact that much like another character Aaron is writing at the moment his reasons could be seen as just and fair.

Aaron’s ability to blur the lines between heroes and villains in Scalped, coupled with an awareness of exactly how and when to use a twist in the means that this culmination of 34 issues sees every plot twist and brilliant piece of careful characterisation come together perfectly.

R.M. Guera’s art gets better and better, ideally suited to the story and the dark colours from Giulia Brusco only help to cement the tone of this great book. Guera truly brings the brutality of both Red Crow and Dash to life, the ability to draw Dash at his scariest and yet being able to make him look calmer than we have seen him in a long time is truly an impressive thing to do.

All in all this is another brilliant issue of Scalped cementing it’s place at the top of the buy pile. There are six collections available and all are essential catching up. We are apparently at the mid-point with this series and this is certainly a book you do not want to miss as it reaches the build up to what we know will be a ridiculously good and bloody finale.

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