Comic Book: Scalped

Scalped is an American comic book by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera. The main focus is on Dashiell "Dash" Bad Horse, who left the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation as a teenager, only to come back, violently resisting all attempts at reconciling with his mother, and joining up with the police force.

Only the police force is full of dirty cops and run by Chief Red Crow, a vicious crime boss. And the Reservation (or The Rez) is a complete drug-addled gang-run hellhole. And Dash is actually working with the FBI to take down Red Crow.

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Scalped provides examples of:

  • Anguished Declaration of Love Shunka gives one to Red Crow right before Red Crow shoots him.
  • Anti-Hero: Dash.
  • Anti-Villain: Red Crow. He genuinely wants to do right for the Rez and seemed to really love Dash's mother.
  • Anyone Can Die: Expect at least one major death per story arc.
    • Subverted in the finale, though. It would seem fitting for such a violent and tragic story to end with the death of either or both of its two main protagonists, Dash and Red Crow. But surprisingly enough, they both survive. There's even a fake-out funeral scene, where we are lead to assume Red Crow has died, until we find out it's someone else in the coffin.
  • Ax-Crazy: A lot of people verge into this on occasion but Catcher takes the cake. Shunka briefly verges into this at the conclusion of his character arc.
  • Badass: Dash is described by his fellow cops as a "one man SWAT team".
    • Diesel too.
  • Bad Boss: Cross him and Red Crow will be this. Nitz, on the other hand? Working for him SUCKS.
  • The Beard: Shunka hires prostitutes to convince Red Crow he's straight.
  • Benevolent Boss: Red Crow can be this at times.
  • Berserk Button: Diesel does not like his very white, non-Indian-looking skin tone pointed out to him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Very close to being a Downer Ending as the series ends with the old generation largely being replaced with the new. Dino Poor Bear is corrupted by his experiences and becomes the new gang leader who may be more ruthless than Red Crow, Nitz and Catcher die in a fire that burns the casino, and Dash, though coming to terms with himself and the reservation, leaves for an unknown destination, unknowingly leaving Maggie as a single mother. On the other hand, Carol becomes Granny Poor Bear's replacement as the mother figure for the reservation, Red Crow leaves his old life behind lives on the land (effectively being a much saner version of Catcher), and Officer Falls Down looks to be a more effective Sheriff than his predecessor.
  • Black and Gray Morality
  • The Bodyguard: Shunka is Red Crow's
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Subverted Shunka is set to turn on Red Crow, but at the last second turns on his compatriot assassins. He saves Red Crow, but Red Crow's trust in him is gone forever.
  • The Dragon: Shunka for Red Crow.
  • Eye Scream: Mr. Brass is fond of removing eyes. He does this to Dino Poor Bear.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Man, Sheriff Karnow loves to pretend he's a hardcore badass Vietnam vet who loves John Wayne films.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Dino Poor Bear goes from a janitor at the casino to Red Crow's replacement as gang leader by the end of the series.
  • Gayngster: Shunka.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: But Carol isn't a very good girl.
  • The Hermit: Catcher. But Red Crow becomes this at the end
  • Hidden Depths: Everyone, but especially Red Crow, Carol and Shunka.
  • Insistent Terminology: Dare point out his caucasian skin, or hell just say anything to the contrary to him, and Diesel will scream in your face that he's "one sixteenth, kickapoo!"
  • Kick the Dog: Lots and lots of people get these moments. Diesel slaughtering Red Crow's dogs is one...and Agent Nitz gets dozens of asshole moments.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A great deal of visions. It's left unclear if there are truly spirits. Catcher monologues how he unsure at times if he is 'prophet or madman.'
  • New Old West
  • No Delays for the Wicked: Averted by Red Crow and his casino, which opens early in the series. Even after his "success" of getting the damn thing up and running, life as the boss is a constant stream of interruptions and complications.
  • No Ending: Intentionally invoked for the fate of Lawrence Belcourt. He requests that Red Crow no longer pay for his protection in jail. Whether he is murdered at some point in the future or dies of old age is left to the imagination of the reader.
  • Pet the Dog: A lot of people get these moments sometimes. Red Crow giving Dino Poor Bear money to escape the Reservation, his occasional kindness towards Dash and his literal pet the dog bits reinforce he's a man who, as he says wishes for the day when his dreams outnumber his regrets.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Quite a few, generally when silencers are used.
  • Properly Paranoid: Shunka hates Dash and is convinced he's lying to Red Crow. He's right.
  • Really Gets Around: Carol, originally, before character development.
  • The Reveal: The murderer of the FBI agents that Lawrence went down for? Catcher is the one who murdered the two FBI agents thirty years ago. He is also Gina Bad Horse's murderer.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Catcher for Gina.
  • Start of Darkness: We see Red Crow and Catcher's years ago. In many way, this story is one for Dino Poor Bear, who becomes a brutal new crime lord of the Rez at the end.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The death of Diesel Engine. Dash shoots him in the legs, then shoots all his fingers off, then his elbows, his groin... and he only puts a bullet in his brain at the very end. All this because Diesel killed a kid Dash had taken under his wing when the kid came shooting at Diesel for murdering his mother.
  • Sleazy Politician: All over the place.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Very cynical.
  • The Sociopath: Diesel has shades of this, but Mr. Brass is this to a terrifying degree.
  • Torture Technician: Mr. Brass. He never asks a question twice.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: Johnny Tongue and his Hmong gangsters.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Dino Poor Bear has no issues trying to murder Red Crow later on, despite Red crow having given him 2000 dollars solely to help him and his daughter.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Believe it or not, Diesel.
  • Wretched Hive: The Rez. There's very little for the denizens to do other than get drunk, high and start fights. Red Crow's apparent desire to improve the cesspit of a reservation he's nominally in charge of is a major part of his character.
  • Yellow Peril: The only Asians in the story are the Hmong gangsters and Mr. Brass