The Sixth Gun #6


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The Sixth Gun #6


  • Words: Cullen Bunn
  • Art: Brian Hurtt
  • Publisher: Oni Press
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Nov 17, 2010

Big stories deserve a big canvas upon which to unfold. They deserve wide panoramic spaces in which to breathe and expand and mature. As the first chapter in the dark western legend of the Sixth Gun gallops to a close, creators Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt allow their dark horse some room to run, delivering a blockbuster finish to one of the summer’s most surprising success stories.

Bunn and Hurtt are the real deal. Up until this issue, The Sixth Gun has been an exercise in masterful storytelling, as writer and artist capitalized on their creative chemistry to build a new legend of an Old West haunted by undead hordes, mysterious thunderbirds, and demonic pistols. In the final chapter of their opening salvo, Bunn and Hurtt succeed in realizing the promise exhibited in the previous issues.

As Rebecca, Sinclair, and Billjohn fight their way through the epic, raging battle of the Maw towards a final confrontation with the undead General Hume, both the physical and emotional conflicts explode into a storm of horror action so massive and fierce only an entire issue of double-page spreads can contain it. As stated, both creators have impressed with their work on this series but this issue witnesses Hurtt truly coming into his own as an artist, pulling out all of the stops in this widescreen extravaganza.

His extensive use of double-page spreads throughout the issue might have fallen flat in the hands of a lesser artist but Hurtt’s atmospheric, cartoony style and natural storytelling instincts serve him in good stead, here. He succeeds in depicting huge action sequences, that wouldn’t be out of place on the silver screen, without diluting Bunn’s wonderfully understated emotional beats with overwrought layouts or distracting special effects.

Not to be outdone, Bunn delivers a lean, mean script that reminds me in many ways of his protagonist Drake Sinclair: unpredictable, simmering with dark emotion, and above all driven like the hounds of hell were nipping at its heels. Bunn effortlessly achieves a fine balance between intense emotional conflict and huge blockbuster action, as both heroes and villains reach the apex of their character arcs precisely as the Battle for the Maw ratchets to its climax. His pacing is subtle and exquisite, allowing the physical action to swirl around his protagonists, amplifying the emotional tension permeating their fight for survival.

As this first arc of The Sixth Gun comes to a close, Bunn and Hurtt establish a new status quo for Rebecca, Sinclair, and Billjohn. With Hume’s seemingly immortal mistress still free, there appear to be more dark times on the horizon for the keeper of the General’s infernal pistol. And while our heroes don’t ride off into the sunset, so much as stumble towards it after surviving the Maw, I for one, intend to ride shotgun as they embark on a new chapter in the ongoing legend of the Sixth Gun.

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