Pick of the Week

June 27, 2012 – Scalped #59

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.8
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 16.5%
Users who pulled this comic:
Written by Jason Aaron
Pencilled by R.M. Guera
Inked by R.M. Guera
Colored by Giulia Brusco
Cover by Jock

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

Pressure can only build up so much before that which contains it simply erupts, unable to contain the sheer force of the inexorable push. Scalped #59 is that release, that eruption, that explosion. With one issue to go, Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra just let it fly, and now every single card is on the table. All the secrets are out, and the only thing left to do is clear the dust, and see who’s still standing, or who isn’t.

This one was all action. It was pure comic booking, with relatively little dialog and a lot of grisly fighting. It was the kind of fighting where you knew that this would be the last fight for pretty much everyone involved. It was violence as catharsis. It had to end in blood, fire, and guns, because what other way is there? Plus it all goes down in the evacuated casino, the center of the rot in the reservation, the heart of the corruption, with piles of money everywhere, including the mouth of a Molotov cocktail, heavy with flammable metaphor. The destructive youth created by Red Crow’s reign have come to take him down, as will happen in a criminal organization built on greed. At the same time, Catcher shows up with Bad Horse, determined to take his final revenge on Red Crow. As for Bad Horse, I honestly don’t know where he stands, but I do know that he’ll probably be the last man to do so. It all leads up to a classic Mexican stand off Lee Van Cleef would have been proud of. It was just raw and ugly. But at the same time, if you’ve been paying attention all along, plots are being wrapped, and stories are coming full circle. Plus Agent Nitz hasn’t been shot yet. So we’ve got that to look forward to.

I have to wonder how specific a script Jason Aaron wrote for this one, because the most impressive thing about the issue was R.M. Guéra unleashed. It was more stylistic and violent than it was realistic. It was old school John Woo, bullets flying, faces getting ripped up, and hands getting hacked off with a tomahawk. That was before the pack of wild dogs showed up. The whole issue is surround by darkness and flame, as if the whole thing takes place in Hell, which is what the world of the reservation has kind of turned in to for many of the residents. The pages are literally littered with hand drawn sound effects for all the gun shots, and stabbings, and dropping bodies. It’s relentless. On the title page, we see Red Crow, knife in his mouth like an 80s action movie, with multiple images of his arm shooting all over the place. Above him and to the left, we see the glass and wall taking bullets from the shots being fired at him. It feels like he’ll never escape, but it also feels like he’s unbeatable. He also has no shoes on, so it feels a little like Die Hard. This is the thing that had to happen at the end of this story, and it’s the way it had to be drawn, with utter abandon.

Finally, can I just kvetch a little about the fact that Jock hasn’t been nominated for an Eisner for these covers? Vertigo have made books of covers for other titles, and Jock’s body of cover work for Scalped could easily sit next to any of them. This month’s wrapping is no different. At first, it appears very simple, but it just screams conflagration and blood. There’s not a comic shop in the world where this one wouldn’t stand out on the stands to any wandering eye. It’s one of the great strengths of the book, and always has been.

One of the most fun things about this issue is that we’re left wondering and guessing what the aftermath will be. The team has 30 days and 20 pages left to wrap the whole thing up, and I’m going over scenarios in my head, but I think they’re all going to die. Or maybe they aren’t? Maybe Red Crow walks away, stuck with the guilt. Or maybe Dash does the same thing? I don’t know! Anything could happen. Except, I’m mostly sure Nitz is hosed, like I said.

All good things must end, but what makes it sweet is the feeling of a good ending, which we’re getting. It’s not poetry, and it’s not telling deeper truths about the human condition, but Scalped is a hell of a yarn, put together by a team of talented and passionate individuals putting their all into every page. It shows, and in this penultimate issue, they got to shine. Now, we wait to see who picks up what ball, and what home they go to. It’s been a pleasure, gentlemen.

Josh Flanagan
First and last time we see a Lee Van Cleef mention on the site?


  1. I hope we get another Lee Van Cleef mention, that guy was creepy in the spaghetti westerns. Great review Josh!

  2. Is this a good jumping on point? 😉 (Oh man, I just had to say it. I couldn’t help myself.)

  3. That ending…jeez.

  4. Could never get into Scalped, but these sorts of reviews always make me say “I really should give it another try.”

    Good review, Josh.

  5. So far, I would have Manhattan Projects as my POW. I’m really loving that series thus far. And I also read Spaceman, which is draggin for me now.

  6. This was my pick too. Quite simply, a jaw-dropping issue. I am both anticipating and dreading the final issue.

  7. Avatar photo MarkCWarner (@MarkCWarner) says:

    I came to acknowledge this title about a year ago – over one of the numerous ‘this shit is epic’ talks on the P.O.T.W. podcast . After which, I haven’t read, but bought every issue. The idea was to continue collecting till this moment, where I am now going to start at issue 1 and run like hell to the finishing line. Which should coincide in 30 days. The review is inline with how you spoke about the book till now. It is in line with how you reviewed Fear Agent’s last hurrah and I am freaking jazzed.

    This shit is going to be epic.

  8. love this book

  9. I wasn’t certain first read through how I felt, Second read I feel it’s amazing, if what I think has happened has happened it’s probably the perfect and only ending.

  10. This was a great issue. I loved the page that was split into four panels with each one focusing on one of the four characters in the story. The text with each panel was great, and really summarizes that release you allude to in the review. I’m sad to see this series go as it is one of my all time favorites. Hopefully, the final issue will be just as great.

  11. This is the only comic on the news stand that makes me yell out an audible “Noooooo” whenever I get to the end.

  12. It was too difficult for me to tell what was going on. The scenes were drawn like Bachalo’s… sort of confusing

  13. I am very Pleased that this title has been acknowledged as a POTW, I don’t get it monthly/bi-monthly or every two months as it has been the case with how series has played out, but I purchase it by trade & have only two to go!

    My choice was The Manhattan Projects as was a lot peoples but I think this will suffice for a good job Aaron & Guera!

  14. Avatar photo tripleneck (@tripleneck) says:

    Hmm, since this week’s POTW is by Conor (I think?) and it’s running a bit late, I’m guessing he’s tackling reviewing a big book. So, my guess is the pick is Batman Earth One. Anyhoo, we’ll see….

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