Here at the end of its chaotic, brutal saga, Scalped doesn't need to pull any gimmicks or big twists. On page one, Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera step on the gas by having Red Crow spear a guy, and the pedal stays to the metal from there to the end. This is the final confrontation between the title's angriest, most violent characters, and it does not disappoint one bit. Red Crow's untamable rage, Catcher's madness and near-mystical use of dogs as his allies, and Bad Horse's determined, smoldering baddassery are all spot on. And why shouldn't they be? Aaron and Guera have both spent years digging into the hearts, minds, and souls of these men, and all that's left to do is stick them in a room full of guns and wait to see who comes out alive. If anyone does.
There's a ton of awesome shit in this issue: the craziness in Catcher's eyes when he begins his assault on Red Crow, the one page where each of the main characters gets a single panel to express his thoughts in this climactic moment, the detailed forensics that finally point to Catcher as the man who killed the FBI agents all those years ago. But none of that amounts to jack when help up against the last three pages. Guera outdoes himself with each new panel, and by the time I got to the end, I honestly felt like I didn't need any more. If this had been the last issue of Scalped I ever read, I would've gotten an incredible longform narrative with pages and pages of unforgettable art and a fully satisfying ending. That there is still a whole finale issue left to go is, at this point, pure frosting.