The 6th Gun is a comic book. Okay, so that’s not exactly going to make it on the back of the collected edition. But let me explain to you why that is the greatest compliment I could give this fantastic comic.
I’m fairly picky when it comes to the comics I buy. Since I buy the majority in trade form, I’m even more selective when it comes to comics I buy as single issues. The criteria I most often use when deciding to buy a book is this very simple question: Could this be anything other than a comic book?
Over the years, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing movie storyboards in paper form published as comics. We’ve seen titles created just so their creators can get a movie deal. We’ve watched as trends that are popular in other forms of entertainment sparkle their way into our favorite titles. When I pick up a comic book, I want to know that the people who made it don’t consider comic books to be their fall back medium. So when I say that The 6th Gun is a comic book, I mean that it embodies the greatness of the medium.
In simple terms, The 6th Gun is a supernatural Western. Honestly, that in and of itself makes it fairly specific to the comic book world, as it would be surprising for such a mix to see the light of day in most other arenas. It’s also very clear that it’s not beholden to what Hollywood considers marketable. But simply dubbing it a “supernatural Western” would be selling creators Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt extremely short.
There’s a fantastic tightrope act going on in The 6th Gun with Bunn and Hurtt straddling the line between an enjoyable, self-contained thriller and a longer, more complex story in which every character has some kind of morally questionable secret. This is exactly what you want when reading a monthly comic, some sort of beginning and end to the story at hand, yet plenty of clues as to what’s to come. Like I said, it’s a balancing act, and one which most comics don’t do very well.
In this issue, we finally get to see the fabled Maw in real life, as opposed to the ominous visions we’ve seen before now. There’s more the Maw than was originally let on, as it’s not just General Hume’s former headquarters, but also the location of his buried treasure…or is it? Only all six of the cursed guns can open the gate that leads to what is supposed to be all the loot the General has accumulated over the years, but would a bunch of money need such a heavy duty mystical lock? Obviously not, and the ending would seem to suggest that whatever is in the Maw is the real reason why the Grey Ghost wants his gun back.
The end of this issue suggests that next issue will be the logical conclusion to the main plot. I don’t know what sales are like on this book, but hopefully they’re good enough that this series will continue well beyond the culmination of the initial storyline.