The Sixth Gun #4


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The Sixth Gun #4


  • Words: Cullen Bunn
  • Art: Brian Hurtt
  • Publisher: Oni Press
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Sep 9, 2010

On the surface, restraint may be a strange thing to consider when reviewing a western comic chock full of desert hijinks and bloody horror action but it’s a quality that serves the creators of The Sixth Gun well in this fourth installment of the Oni ongoing series. As Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt ratchet the action to even greater heights than previous chapters, they resist the temptation to reveal all of the secrets of their heroes and villains.

Oliandar Bedford Hume’s relentless pursuit of his notorious pistol lands him smack dab in the middle of a clever supernatural trap laid by his one-time protégé Sinclair. Chaos ensues as Hume’s enforcers battle a powerful spirit intent on protecting its boneyard, while Sinclair races to catch up to the preacher’s daughter and the evil pistol now bonded to her person.

Bunn and Hurtt once again succeed in ensuring the rising action of their plot continues to raise the stakes for their protagonists, in terms of the sheer size and scope of the danger they face. Emotional conflict also threatens to shatter Sinclair’s little party, as his connection to Hume is finally revealed. The plot is simple, following a traditional structure, yet impeccably executed with both collaborators fusing their contributions into a seamless whole.

What prevents The Sixth Gun from descending into mediocrity is the exceptional patience shown by the creators, who let their story unfold at its own pace. Sure, sometimes the pacing is of the break-neck variety but there’s an inherent balance in the structure of the traditional plot that’s buttressed by Hurtt’s technically sound visual storytelling. Even if the danger has escalated for Sinclair’s posse, it’s easy to follow and not without its emotional repercussions. Even as Bunn reveals Sinclair’s connection to Hume, his hero’s true motivations remain a mystery. Revenge must surely be a part of the allure of procuring Hume’s gun for Sinclair, although there’s also mention of a big payoff. Questions abound, even as the reader learns more about the character.

My only complaint about the series thus far is a lack of character development in the preacher’s daughter. For much of the plot, she seems to be carried away by the action instead of a part of it. Bunn spends much more time developing Sinclair and the host of eclectic villains in Hume’s army. Although she displays moments of true grit (yup, I went there), for the most part, the current bearer of Hume’s infernal firearm comes off as relatively one dimensional. Having said that, her prominent position on next issue’s cover would seem to indicate a shift in focus away from Sinclair towards his unwitting charge.

Month in and month out, The Sixth Gun has shown itself to be one of the most consistently satisfying books of the summer. Bunn and Hurtt seem poised for an exciting finish as Sinclair and friends vow to take the fight back to Hume in the next issue. Through their remarkable patience and simple, exquisite storytelling Bunn and Hurtt continue to make their dark horse a contender for one of my favorite books of the year.

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