Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Scalped #54

Written by Jason Aaron
Art by RM Guera

After this issue, there will only be six more Scalped comics.  This knowledge makes me very sad, but it also forces me to slow down in my reading of the book, and to savour what is left.

Scalped has been my favourite comic (usually tied with The Walking Dead) for a few years now, and its one of the few comics where I've developed such strong feelings for the characters, that it can really upset me at times.  This is one of those issues.  Amid the stream of violent acts and brutal killings that fill this book, there is one moment that I found a little heartbreaking.

Sheriff Karnow has affected a huge change in his life of late, and has gone from being the typical Boss Hogg hick sheriff loudmouth to being someone who truly cares about his job and is searching for his own redemption.  This has led him to raid a meth lab, although he's had to do it on his own, being double-crossed by his deputies, and by the FBI.  Obviously, this does not go well for Karnow, but it is the identity of the person that delivers that coup de grace that upset me.  I don't want to spoil it, but anyone who has regularly read my musings on this series over the years would know who my favourite character in this series is.  I just don't know what led him to that particular moment, and hope that, with the little time left for the series, we can find out.

The rest of the comic is much more relevant to the current plot.  Red Crow handles his right hand man Shunka's recent betrayal, which leads to one very memorable moment that was clearly unexpected from Lincoln's point of view than it was from ours.  Shunka has been a pretty interesting character.  He's gone from being a silent thug to a pretty complicated, closeted homosexual killer, and Aaron was able to keep him believable throughout.

Also is this issue, Dash's father, Wade, finds out who killed his wife, and attempts his revenge, amid the carnage of a jail that was shot up randomly.  This did confuse me a bit - I don't remember where Wade and Catcher were incarcerated - they clearly weren't in Karnow's jail, as we see it later on and there is no discussion of the dead officers, but it's also clearly not on the Reserve, as all of the cops who get killed are white.  I think I need to back up and read the last couple of issues again.

As always, this was a very powerful comic.  Next issue promises a confrontation between Bad Horse and Shunka, and I expect we'll learn what affect Karnow's fate has on FBI Agent Nitz.  I know it's way too late in the game to convince anyone to start reading this title on a monthly basis, but I can't recommend the trades of this series enough.

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