by Jason Aaron & R.M. Guera
collects Scalped # 12-18
the premise: Almost immediately after the murder of Dash's mother, a junkie is killed leaving her children orphaned. Dash is drawn into the latter case while avoiding the former, all the while struggling to come to terms with his relationship with his mother.
the lowdown: Despite being the longest Scalped collection to date, this volume offers the least in terms of ongoing plot developments. Things move at pretty much a snail's pace, and really very little gets resolved. Instead, Aaron gives us a very focused character piece revolving around Dash as well as Red Crow and a few of the marginal characters. The piece is presented in the context of two murder mysteries, seemingly unconnected but occurring simultaneously.
What Aaron really accomplishes here is to humanize both Dash and Red Crow. The effort taken with Dash is obvious, as he's the protagonist, but the work with Red Crow is nearly as good. Although Red Crow has been presented, to date, as the nominal villain of the piece, he's presented in an almost sympathetic manner here. When he finally does do something terrible, the reader is reminded of who and what he is, but at the same time he feels more complex, more rounded, more like a man who is no more flawed than anyone else in the book.
Guera handles the art on the main story here - his work remains excellent, and reminds me more and more of Denys Cowan with each volume. There are two one-off fill-ins as well, both of which keep the overall look of the series consistent.
the verdict: This volume wasn't as full-on awesome as the last two, but it was still really good. This is a very solid series and looks to be good for the long haul.