Overview

The Sixth Gun #2

Review

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The Sixth Gun #2

Credits

  • Words: Cullen Bunn
  • Art: Brian Hurtt
  • Publisher: Oni Press
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jul 14, 2010

A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing The Sixth Gun #1 for Free Comic Book Day. I stated at the time that Oni’s western-horror title was the best original book offered for FCBD this year. Creators Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt succeeded in their first issue, in presenting a fun, fast-paced, tightly plotted chiller with gorgeous visuals.

I’m happy to report that the pair has returned in their second installment with both guns loaded for bear and aimed precisely at the bull’s eye for another rollicking ride through the American Old West. What sets this book apart from other similar titles on the shelves is that it presents the total package. From Bunn’s engaging narrative to Hurtt’s luscious artwork, so far, The Sixth Gun is a series with a clear vision from start to finish.

This issue sees Bunn develop his established characters further, revealing details about their shared history, while introducing some interesting new faces in the bargain. As I stated in my previous review, much of the strength of Bunn’s storytelling comes from his use of an omniscient third person narrative. His plot unfolds naturally through this narration, allowing Bunn to salt his script with mysterious revelations and introduce his new characters organically, with minimal fuss.

As the evil undead General Oliander Bedford Hume’s desperate quest for his cursed pistol becomes more immediate as his strength increases, Bunn reveals that his anti-hero Drake Sinclair shares a past with the obsessed madman and his equally undead wife. Branded a turncoat by Hume at the issue’s end, it will be interesting to learn the nature of Sinclair’s relationship with the Humes, as he seeks to protect the gun’s current owner and keep it away from his old comrades.

Last issue, Bunn achieved a fine balance between exposition and action, managing to introduce his characters and setting without getting bogged down in the mechanics of world building. It’s a trend he continues in this second chapter, as he drops key story elements, character developments, and introduces new members of the supporting cast set against an explosive shoot-out in Brimstone’s Silver Palace Saloon.

Brian Hurtt’s art once again perfectly captures the tone of Bunn’s plot, his style just as lean, mean, and gutsy as his collaborator’s script. Last issue, Hurtt showed himself to be a master of atmospheric setting and slick transitions, talents he continues to showcase this issue. However, he’s allowed to stretch a bit more during this outing, as the Silver Palace detonates in the first major battle for Hume’s gun.

The prolonged action sequence that closes out the issue features Hurtt’s precisely constructed pages, which allow the audience to experience the excitement without the distraction of convoluted layouts or crowded panels. Everything feels just busy enough, with robust movement and lushly colored scenes, yet leaving Bunn’s plot enough room to gallop.

I’m always a little leery of second issues. Often the sophomore outing of a new series fails to live up to the standards of the introductory chapter, as creators rush to fill in any expository gaps and push the action too soon. With The Sixth Gun #2, Bunn and Hurtt avoid these pitfalls and turn in a balanced second installment that manages to increase the excitement, without sacrificing character development or the distinctive traits of their setting. An elegantly simple, richly realized supernatural thriller, The Sixth Gun feels like you’re living the legend, even as it unfolds around you.

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