From the first issue to the last issue: Back-to-back covers of SCALPED #1 and #60. (Covers by Jock)

It’s been said that a story is only as good as its ending. A satisfying ending is crucial to keep readers (or viewers) from feeling disappointed. And there are few things worse than a series–or a story–that keeps on going long after it should have come to a satisfying close.

Readers of SCALPED, one of the best comics of the last ten years, can be grateful that writer Jason Aaron and artist R.M. Guera have delivered a terrific finale to their 60-issue masterpiece.

Man, will I miss this comic. It was the best VERTIGO series since 100 BULLETS, and one of the very best crime comics of all time. My pleasure at seeing the story come to a no-holds-barred conclusion that stays true to the characters and their world is exceeded only by my chagrin at having no more issues of SCALPED to read in the future.

Much has been written in praise of Aaron’s gritty, character-based writing, as well as Guera’s fantastic artwork that fit the story to perfection, so I won’t repeat the words of critics here. Suffice to say, this was one helluva ride, and I hate to see it end. But I salute Aaron and Guera for giving us the ending that we needed–it may not have been the ending we WANTED–but it was the ending that we needed. Rarely has a comic stayed so true to the heart and soul of its lead character.

During the course of the SCALPED run we met and grew to love (or hate) plenty of fascinating and unforgettable characters such as Red Crow, Catcher, Shunka, and Poor Bear (to name only a few).  But in the end SCALPED was always the story of Dashiell Bad Horse, and we’re reminded of that by the final decision that our deeply flawed protagonist makes in the sixtieth and final issue.

Here’s a nice interview with Aaron about the series, which will undoubtedly live on in the form of trade paperback collections:

With SCALPED finished and CRIMINAL on indefinite hiatus, where is the next great crime comic?

I can’t wait to find out.