The Comic: Scalped, written by Jason Aaron, with art by R.M. Guera.
What’s it about: Dashiell Bad Horse returns to the Indian Reservation (the ‘Rez) he was born in, after being gone for fifteen years. He spends a day drinking, gambling and causing trouble. He is found by his uncle, Lincoln Red Crow, the president of the Tribal Council and Sheriff of the Tribal Police. Red Crow offers his nephew a job, and a chance to clean up his act- by becoming an enforcer for the very shady crime enterprise that Red Crow has been running since the 1970s. Later that night, Dashiell is having a drink under a bridge, when two white men in suits approach him. “Well done Agent Bad Horse,” one of them says to him. Because Dashiell Bad Horse is collaborating with the FBI to take his uncle’s criminal empire apart.
Why you should read it: Those familiar with the show Justified will find a very similar story here. A man from a very particular part of the American continent returns to his childhood home on behalf of the federal government, his loyalties are torn and he ends up making a lot of family and former friends really, really angry. The book is well researched, going into the history of the Reservation system, and the politics, but never losing focus on the central characters. It’s a crime story at its core, but one with a setting like nothing else in comics.
Also, did you know: The comic was inspired by Leonard Peltier, a Native American Rights Activist, who was accused of the murder of two FBI agents in 1975.