Overview

The Sixth Gun #12

Review

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The Sixth Gun #12

Credits

  • Words: Cullen Bunn
  • Art: Brian Hurtt
  • Colors: Bill Crabtree
  • Story Title: "Bound: Part One"
  • Publisher: Oni Press
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jun 29, 2011

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I reviewed Oni Press' The Sixth Gun #1 for Free Comic Book Day 2010. A lot’s changed in comics in the interim but one thing that has remained constant is the pleasure I derive from reading Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s modern horror-western masterpiece. For the past year, month in and month out, Bunn and Hurtt have produced one of the most consistently high quality books on the shelves today.

This is no mean feat. It’s rare that a series has the legs to endure a grueling ongoing publishing schedule without sacrificing quality along the way. Aside from the recruitment of Bill Crabtree to take over the coloring chores from Hurtt, The Sixth Gun continues to chug along without missing a beat. The addition of Crabtree at the start of the second story arc was seamless and barely noticeable and presumably allows Hurtt a little breathing room to keep up the pace.

This issue picks up directly after the close of the second story arc and follows Drake, Becky, and the warrior-monks of the Sword of Abraham as they seek to rid themselves of the undead corpse of General Hume and protect the five infernal pistols in their possession. As Drake and Becky careen towards their unknown futures as keepers of five of the dreaded Six, Hume’s newly rejuvenated widow Missy hatches a mad, violent scheme to retrieve her husband’s corpse and his cursed shooting irons.

Although much of the action remains confined to a rattling, steaming locomotive, Bunn and Hurtt ratchet up the tension through a tightly paced rising action, featuring snappy dialogue and framed by the book’s singular homespun narration. The issue culminates in a huge action sequence featuring a posse of undead outlaws assaulting the moving train from horseback. Using a trio of panoramic, multi-paneled double-page spreads, Hurtt creates a truly cinematic experience that wouldn’t be out of place on the big screen.

One of the series’ strengths is Bunn’s ability to approach the conventions of both of the horror and western genres with a fresh eye. The old train robbery plot device gets a new twist when the typical cargo of loot is substituted for the undead remains of the book’s main villain. It’s a simple change but one which contributes to The Sixth Gun’s unique, broad appeal by proving that sometimes less is more. There’s an easy swagger infused in this series that comes not from arrogance or ego but from confidence and craft. Bunn and Hurtt don’t try too hard to be clever or smart or different. They just are – through old-fashioned strong storytelling.

Fast-paced, action-packed, and featuring strong, distinctive characters, The Sixth Gun continues to be one of the most consistently exciting and well-crafted books on the shelves.

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