The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

CC2K’s Comic of the Week 6/18/08: Scalped #18

Written by: Ron Bricker

ImageEvery week, there are a multitude of books being released from multiple different publishers. And while we here at CC2K like to provide as many reviews as our limited numbers can provide, there is always one book that is the cream of the crop. Comics are expensive, and so is the gas to get to the shop. So that's why we've started giving you the one, absolutely unmissable book every week. This week: Vertigo's Scalped #18!
Writer – Jason Aaron
Artist – Davide Furno
Colors – Giulia Brusco
Letters – Steve Wands
Cover – Tim Bradstreet

#18 holds a couple of firsts. It's the first issue of the series that doesn't feature a fantastic cover by Jock. However, that's not to say Bradstreet's cover is anything but fantastic, it truly is. Another first for this issue is that Aaron for the first time in the series, presents us with a narrative character that (thus far) is truly a good man. Franklin Falls Down is a reservation police that is on a decision making journey of deciding whether or not he will accept Red Crow's request of him handling Gina Bad Horse's murder. Along the way to his decision, we are treated to what is essentially a crash course in this character that we have not previously met. I'm not sure if it's the fact that for nearly two years we've been reading constantly about all these people, each with only a couple of redeeming factors to their personalities, or just that Falls Down possesses such strong character on his own.

It's interesting to see the relationship this character has with the others, because he seemingly has all the normal values that any average human being should presumably have, yet among the seedy folk around him, he seems like a blessing. Then again, Aaron brings about a real-life persona about him, as among his peers he slings the same curse laden dialogue as everyone around him, but his narrative is very thoughtful and personal. This issue is truly one of Aaron's shining accomplishments in an already prestigious run on this book. The greatest thing about a company like Vertigo is the faith it places in creators; books like Scalped or Y: The Last Man would never be possible if the company didn't let the creators portray their true vision. By allowing the stories to be told gracefully, we are able to get single issues like this focusing on well written characterization.

Also featured in issue #18 is the art of Davide Furno, stepping in to give series regular RM Guera. At first sight, I honestly didn't notice. The work is so consistent to the standard that Guera has set that it fits the usual tone perfectly. Further inspection can distinguish the artwork clearly, as it's really the coloring of the issue that allows it to so smoothly transition artists. However, in some respects, it's almost disappointing to have the art be so consistent because at points it feels like Furno didn't really get the chance to shine in a style that is his own.

In all, this issue is a great transition to the next arc that is written similar to the standalone stories that Aaron gave us before “Dead Mothers” started. This issue is by far my favorite of the series thus far, and I hope to see many more in the future.

4.5 out of 5.