Geek Goggle Reviews: Scalped #40

by Jeff

Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews

15262_180x270 Geek Goggle Reviews: Scalped #40Scalped #40
Vertigo Comics (DC Comics)
Aaron & Guera

The second part of the “Unwanted” arc hammers home two points very poignantly. First, unwanted pregnancies are a way of life for the characters on the reservation. Secondly, the lead characters have grown from unwanted children to directionless, addicted adults. The issue had the potential to be much sadder than it seems if not for the fact that the standard for the series is hovering slightly above constant depression. It’s another good issue but there are some quirks about it that were tough sells.

To recap, Carol is pregnant, the assumption is that Dash is the father, and she grapples with whether or not to get an abortion. She is convinced to keep the child, which in turn means the baby will be born an addict. Carol’s task is to take methadone in place of her drugs to help cope with the withdrawals. Carol is hiding from the world by living with Granny Poor Bear and her family. Within that house there seems to be a few single parents, of which at least one can’t be older than fourteen. Carol’s part in this issue is actually the happier one.

geekgoggle Geek Goggle Reviews: Scalped #40Dash, is being forced to deal with his drug addiction the old fashioned way. He’s locked up screaming his lungs out while seeing various hallucinations. To read this issue you would have to think he’s going to end up killing himself with his violent reactions. This was painful to read to be sure.

Finally, the issue unveils Dash’s long lost father, Wade. We find out in this issue that when Dash’s mom kicked Wade to the curb she aborted a pregnancy when Dash was basically a toddler. Wade’s reentry to the reservation is met with some resistance.

While it seems like the issue is constantly dealing with parents deserting their kids or ridding themselves of pregnancies there is something else going on here. The concept of family is actually fairly strong in the issue. We see this in the Granny Poor Bear family and we get a sense of fatherly pride between both Wade and Red Crow towards Dash. This is also where the issue doesn’t completely make sense.

Red Crow and Wade obviously had a rivalry over Dash’s mother. However, does that translate into strong feelings for Dash? I’m not sure it does but to read this issue you would think Red Crow is extremely protective of Dash. I’d argue to this point that Red Crow has shown tough love at best towards Dash and charity because of his past allegiance to Dash’s mother at worst. Neither really translates into fatherly pride. It’s just a very tough conversion within this issue.

The issue relies heavily on the art. There is no action in the issue and there isn’t a whole lot of dialogue. However, the translation of pain from the withdrawals to the choices the characters make is clear. The story is a dark one and the artwork delivers on it perfectly.

Scalped is tackling a tough topic in this arc, but the real trick is going to be putting all of these broken characters back together again. At this point I’m not sure how this will all play out but I am sure it will be jarring along the way. This is another good issue that will surely entertain on a lot of levels.

4 out of 5 Geek Goggles

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