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5.0 out of 5 stars Double up, 18 Sep 2011
By 
Noel - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Scalped TP Vol 02 Casino Boogie (Paperback)
"Casino Boogie" takes place on opening night of the casino where we see the corruption and ugliness required to create such an expensive venture in a land locked remote location such as South Dakota. The bribing of officials, the hand-outs from the mob - Red Crow has had to get into bed with a lot of dangerous people who threaten to bring the whole scheme crashing down around him. And amidst all of this chaos is Gina Bad Horse, Dash's mother, whose protest group against the casino has attracted the likes of the sociopathic wannabe-Indian Diesel, a man intent on sabotaging opening night - unless Dash can stop him.

This is really Volume 1, Part 2 rather than Volume 2. The ending of the first book is put on ice as Jason Aaron jumps back to the story before the final page finale before ending the second book on almost exactly the same final page as the first. But it's an ingenious choice for so many reasons.

The first half of the book tells the story of Lincoln Red Crow's life. His beginnings as a resilient child proud of his Indian heritage despite being brutally beaten to conform otherwise by his Catholic school teachers in the 1950s, we see him become a hard-headed and increasingly cold man who tries to make people aware of the Lakota, their heritage, their rights, and their land, through a small domestic terrorist group. He then turns to a life of murder, doing everything he can to become as powerful as possible, culminating in the Crazy Horse Casino - a venture he half-heartedly believes will bring money in for his tribe and raise the standard of living for everyone on the Prairie Rose Rez. Or does he even care about his tribe anymore?

The lives of the supporting characters Catcher and Dino Poor Bear are explored further. Catcher is a mysterious shamanistic figure who seems to be insane, claiming visions of the future and communing with spirits while living in a filthy mobile home in the middle of nowhere, drinking himself into a stupor regularly, his potential as an Oxford and Rhodes scholar all but squandered. Through the flashbacks showing a young Red Crow and a young Gina Bad Horse, we see that Catcher was part of their terrorist group and the events of one night where 2 FBI agents were shot - both friends and colleagues of Agent Nitz - remain shrouded, the murderer still unknown. For now.

Through Dino Poor Bear the awful living conditions of the Rez are highlighted. Children damaged from fetal alcohol syndrome, pregnant teenagers smoking crack, double amputees from diabetes, morbid obesity, numerous high school (and some middle school) drop outs, and chronic alcoholism, all litter Dino's sad life. He himself is a father despite being a teenager while also being the uneasy breadwinner of his troubled household dreaming of escape.

In a book where we are learning about the characters, Aaron has the characters questioning who they are as well. The issue of identity runs throughout this book as we see Red Crow fighting for his tribe's identity and ultimately losing his Indian heritage for the "white man's" via his choices that led him to become the successful and enormously corrupt businessman he is today. And despite this he berates Poor Bear for wanting to leave the Rez to give his kid a better chance at life - "abandoning" the only land the Lakota have and fought so hard for. "Never forget where you came from" he says, reprimanding Poor Bear. While Poor Bear is disgusted with the current state of the Lakota and seems eager to all but abandon his Indian heritage, Diesel is quite clearly a white man but clings desperately to his "one-sixteenth" Choctaw blood, demanding he be considered an Indian - a futile effort and yet one he perseveres with. So what does it mean to be an Indian in 21st century America - how can they retain their identity while lifting themselves out of poverty and addiction into more rewarding lives? And is it time to abandon tradition in favour of modernity?

By ending the second volume on more or less the same place as the first, the reader is now fully up to speed on all of the main players' motivations and personalities in this story and can see the plot elements beginning to converge and intertwine beautifully. It also raises the stakes as we see how many will be affected by the discovery on the last page, making the reader, especially this reader, that much more invested in where the story is headed in the next book. Like I said at the start, it is an ingenious creative decision by Aaron.

The story of the Rez continues at a breakneck speed with the richness of the tale and quality of the characters making for a terrific read. From the first page to the last I was enveloped in the world of Red Crow, the Bad Horses, Catcher and Poor Bear and was held utterly enthralled by their perfectly realised lives and personalities regardless of the staggering challenges they face. It's hard to believe when this was being written Aaron was still a relatively new writer to comics - the book reads like that of a seasoned veteran. It is a masterclass of writing from the pacing to the plot to the characters, Aaron knows exactly when to change tack and when to go in close for more detail. It's no wonder he is one of the most acclaimed comics writers working today when his work is this extraordinary.

"Casino Boogie", hell, the entire "Scalped" series is highly recommended to any and all who are looking for an incredible and immersive narrative experience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dynamite, 12 Jan 2013
This review is from: Scalped TP Vol 02 Casino Boogie (Paperback)
Scalped continues in the same vein - tough, unsentimental crime/western drama with awesome artwork.

The issues collected in Casino Boogie expand and subtly subvert what the reader learned from the events in Indian Nation - the character of Red Crow is fleshed out and the villain is made sympathetic; Diesel, previously a faceless goon and figure of fun is revealed as the flipside of protagonist Dash in more ways than one.

This is writing, and drawing, of a superior class, in no way should Scalped be looked down on because it's a comic, it's the equal of the best crime genre novels, films and TV.
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5.0 out of 5 stars red and white man's greed, 13 Feb 2008
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Scalped TP Vol 02 Casino Boogie (Paperback)
second collection of issues from scalped, dc comics adults only title about dashiell bad horse, full blooded american indian and very tough guy who left the reservation years ago but has now returned and is working as a cop there. This is a superb comic, an excellent thriller with highly compelling and well drawn characters. think the sopranos on an indian reservation. if that's your kind of thing then this is for you.

This collects issues 6-11 of the comic. whilst it's not too hard to get into if you've not read any of the earlier issues I recommend starting with scalped vol 1 because that way you'll get more out of the story.

These six issues are one long story arc, centering on the opening of a casino on the reservation. The first volume ended on a cliffhanger, and these issues jump back and forth in time on the day of the cliffhanger incident occurring, showing what each of the main characters, and one new one, in the story were doing at the time. It's very cleverly written and the characterisation is superb, adding extra details to the story all the way.

The art is stylised but good and suits the story perfectly.

An excellent comic and well worth getting into. Just remember the bit about it being for adults only
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Scalped  TP Vol 02 Casino Boogie
Scalped TP Vol 02 Casino Boogie by R. M. Guera (Paperback - 6 Feb 2008)
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