Issue #18 of Scalped is like the halftime show at a major sporting event. While not the main program, it can still be a hell of a good show, much like Prince. “Dead Mothers” concluded last issue and here we have an interlude, moving the focus from Dashiell to another Prairie Rose officer, Franklin Falls Down. Even with the shift in focus, issue #18 still adds to the overall package of the Scalped narrative, and tells a damn good story at that.
Being a good cop in a bad place is a tough job and Officer Franklin Falls Down deals with on a daily basis. Through all the death, drugs, and carnage he has lost his motivation for what he does. In a place as bad as Prairie Rose, being one of the only “good guys” is a constant uphill battle which Franklin is finally starting to realize he has lost. The book opens with the juxtapositions of what Falls Down views as good memories versus sour ones, and the differences are quite jarring. Falls Down’s descriptions of ants carrying away bone and brains from a head shot victim make my stomach turn and that is merely the first example used of how shitty a place Prairie Rose is to its inhabitants.
This opening perfectly sets up the through-line of the entire issue and gets readers into the head of Franklin Falls Down for what comes next. The issue follows the “changing of the guard / what is worth fighting for” using a bust Franklin Falls Down and his fellow officers try to make as the catalyst. The actual story is fairly basic but to the issue’s advantage; helps keep everything simple to make the moral of the book much more striking, clearly drawing the line of a “turning point” for readers. I feel if Jason Aaron had created a more convoluted narrative, the issue’s moral center would have been lost in the shuffle.
Art duties on this issue come from fill-in artist Davide Furno whose style is very similar to Scalped regular penciler, R.M. Guera, sprinkled with hints of Paul Pope. So if you are a fan of either Guera or Pope, Furno’s pencils should be pleasing to your eyes.
Scalped has become a hard book to review each month. My job is to point out flaws and discrepancies in other’s work but with Scalped, Jason Aaron has created such an air-tight package that I find myself with less and less to say because the book is so good. It’s a kick-ass, no bullshit affair and if you can handle a jolt of that in your funny books, then you will be right on the reservation with this book. See what I did there?
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