If you thought from the first volume of Scalped that the series was going to be about the book’s lead character Bad Horse, you’ll be surprised by this second volume. But then surprises are part of the joy of this superior ongoing story of life in a Native American reservation. Bad Horse certainly appears but he takes something of a peripheral role in the action.
In the first half of the book it’s the casino that takes centre stage. The characters and timeline twist around the glossy gambling den’s opening night. It’s handled in a similar way to how Quentin Tarantino edited Jackie Brown, with time being chopped and rewound so we can see the same events from different characters’ perspectives.
Aaron then widens the action, bringing in more characters, slipping into flashback and revealing some of the rich history he’s created for them. It’s sophisticated storytelling but it isn’t dense or confusing, showing that between them Aaron and Guéra are masters of clarity and pacing, as well as thrilling visual story telling.
Guéra’s art is scratchy and raw, but subtle colouring and a superb ability to capture the essence of every frame leave you rolling through the story and engaging with the characters, as both their depictions and their voices leap out of the page and into your imagination.
The series started strongly and continues to grow in this volume, leaving us begging for more. Roll on volume 3.
Other titles in the Scalped series: