Kurt Busiek himself recommended Scalped to me last year, and he was not wrong. (That in itself is a bit of a story–he was signing at Excalibur Comics on Free Comic Book Day, and when I stopped by during a lunch break from BarCampPortland 3, I was the only customer in the store and thus able to actually have a substantial chat with him and some of the very friendly staffers. I also picked up a copy of Arrowsmith.)
Every trade paperback collection of a monthly comic needs a title–usually taken from the main storyline therein. “The Gravel in Your Guts” arc comprises the last four issues in this collection, which focus on the “big bad” of the story, Chief Lincoln Red Crow. Previous issues have referenced his backstory, especially his connection to the protagonist, Dashiell Bad Horse, but here we see things from Red Crow’s perspective in the present day.
I don’t read a lot of crime fiction or watch much film noir, so maybe a lot of the stuff here is playing off standard genre tropes. It still works. I suspect this story would work just as well if it were set in an urban ghetto instead of a South Dakota Indian reservation, but there are certain things you could only do with these particular characters and this particular history.