Scalped: Knuckle Up
Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by: R. M. Guera
Published by: Vertigo
Run Date: Issue 50-55
The Following Back Issues may contain spoilers, I will do my best not to but hey I probably will.
We all live in a world where we think we are different from the other side. We think that our way of looking at the world is right and those who disagree are wrong. We never sit down and think that they think they are right and we are wrong. We want so desperately to see ourselves in the right that we ignore the other side. Jason Aaron does a great job opening the comic with this thought. We see a settler teaching his son how to skin an Indian. He gives him step by step instructions on how to do it and talks about the low life dogs they are. We later see an Indian warrior teaching his son, Many Bad Horse, how to scalp the white men calling them dogs. It is funny how the two sides view each other as the same.
Red Crow is making a turn for the good as we start off our arc. He is overseeing the arrest and torching of one of the many meth houses he has running for him. Shunka is not too happy at this prospect and seems to be the voice for the common man when talking to Red Crow. He argues that Red Crow is destroying everything he built and building enemies from these actions. Red Crow doesn’t seem to care and is too concerned with setting things right. This sets ups great for the other meth makers in the area who only see profit coming from the move…that is until the newly changed Sheriff Karnow, who is now living up to the legend he lied about for so long decides to take action. During his raid on a meth house he runs into our old friend Dino, last seeing leaving Prairie Rose due to Carol. I think that Red Crow is one of the highlights of this arc to me. The way he deals with the council finding out about him burning down the meth houses is priceless. He doesn’t give a shit about what anyone else thinks at this point, and he has enough dirt to keep people quiet. The only thing he needs to worry about is Shunka…
Dashiell isn’t doing too good after being shot through the face by Catcher, after finding out that Catcher murdered his mother. There is a really good interaction between Red Crow and Nitz in the hospital room as Dashiell just stares out, unable to talk. He does team up with Sheriff Falls Down, the man kidnapped and stabbed by Catcher in the last arc, and together they set out to track him down. After torching Catcher’s shack out in the woods, Dashiell is a man possessed, stalking the woods for him even though two weeks have passed. We do find Catcher sitting in Karnow’s jail alongside Dashiell’s daddy, and after there is some series of crazy event we see him escape.
This comic is really the end of Red Crow and Shunka’s relationship. Rath, a major meth dealer in North Dakota, got to Shunka and wanted to set Red Crow up to die, only issue is Shunka couldn’t go through with it. Just as everyone else, Shunka is thrown out of Red Crow’s life, but he doesn’t go out silently. He kills Rath and all his boys, the men that Red Crow sent to escort him to the airport, and hauls ass back to the Reservation to take care of the one man he blames for everything… Dashiell.
What comes next is an amazing knock down drag out fight between the two. It is one of the most brutal exchanges in a non-gore porn comic I have seen. Shunka smashing Dashiell in his mouth, which is still stitched up, to Dashiell stabbing Shunka with a chair leg, it is downright nasty. During this time we see Nitz making his move to take down Red Crow, but he won’t find him at the casino. We find Red Crow coming upon Shunka as he is about to scalp Dashiell. What happens next shakes up the core of the book and rockets us to the conclusion. I won’t spoil anymore on that front but it is so powerful.
You almost feel bad for the way it ends though. With all the faith that Red Crow puts into both of them, he is left to make a tough choice, and decide either’s fate. We also have Shunka who blames Dashiell for him losing everything, he is so hell bent on cracking Dashiell. Dashiell is never torn though. He know what he must do and the only thing he is wants now is justice for his mother. He is caught between Red Crow and Shunka to an extent.
In the end though, we learn that our past will always come back to us in one way or another. Red Crow is trying to clean his up but it is coming back to him. We saw Sheriff Karnow let Dino go because of all the shit he gave him growing up, but that didn’t stop Dino from putting a bullet in his head later on. Jason Aaron does such a great job of selling the idea that nothing is safe. When you read this comic you don’t hope for a happy ending because those rarely happen. In a fun note we see Dashiell get his nun chucks back and whip some serious ass. It is unclear who sent the men after him at this point, but he didn’t have an issue serving up some beat downs.
We are closing in on the end of Scalped, the next one will be the last and once that is over I am going to be taking a break from writing a Back Issues every week. Maybe Josh or Tyler will try it out, who knows. I do plan on doing two a month after I wrap of Scalped. So stayed tuned folks, we are only getting started.