That was absolutely heartbreaking. Itís the only thought that entered my mind as I flipped past the final page and closed the book. Jason Aaron you sick son of a bitch! You just love to do it to your characters and Iím pissed at myself for loving the damn ride. Youíve turned me into a sadist!
Issue #20 of Scalped concludes the two part story-arc ďThe Boudoir Stomp.Ē This arc is the first to really spotlight Carol Ellroy, detailing her fall from grace and delving into the relationship she has developed with Dashiell. While the flashback sequence that opens this issue gives easy understanding to Carolís mindset of the present, I think the Dashiell relationship aspect of the story has been far more engrossing and insightful.
So much of their ďunderstandingĒ is delivered through silent panels that absolutely break my heart. Both of these people absolutely love each other, coming a long way from being just booty calls. They both want to see each other delivered from their horrid lives on the Rez but neither of them have the willpower to take that first step needed to motivate each other. Just seeing the flashbacks of Carol and Graham escaping the preservation perfectly mirrors what Dashiell is trying to give to her without all the seedy and shady dealings. However, Dashiellís life as a double agent is sucking him into a cesspool he canít escape, let alone help someone else. I figured that Jason Aaron was going to take this series in the eventual direction of Carol and Dashiell saving each other but Aaron caught me completely off guard; delivering a punch to the gut at this issueís conclusion that Iím still trying to recover from.
SPOILERS DISCUSSED BELOW
See, Dashiell has turned to drugs to drown out the excess filth and stress of his life. It makes complete sense in the context of the story, and is also a way for him to bond with Carol, as itís been shown they share very little in common at this point in their lives. But man, this makes me think there is no hope for these characters and you can see it in Carolís eyes at the end of the issue. The whole final sequence in the issue shows so much about these two and the cat and mouse game they play with each other. But itís Carolís face on the final page that tells it all. She has been waiting for Dashiell to save her from everything and that isnít going to happen. She now has no hope and she knows it. She is going to live out the rest of her life like she currently does and thatís scary as Hell. At the rate sheís going, she wonít make it another year.
The power of this final sequence rests solely on the shoulders of Davide FurnÚ is turning in awesome work on Scalped. Since he took over for the last three issues, I have enjoyed the art in this book so much. I think he catches the essence of regular penciller R.M. Guera while being a bit easier on the eyes due to less shadow work. FurnÚís knack for catching emotions at the perfect instance in uncanny.
Scalped continues to move along at a strong pace, keeping me invested in its characters and themes all while delivering one of the best crime sagas I can remember. With issue #20ís unexpected turn for Dashiell, things are looking to heat up in the following months and deliver something entirely new to readers of the series to keep them hooked. Go out and pick this series up, start from the beginning and enjoy this amazing, sadistic ride.
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