ADVANCE REVIEW! The Sixth Gun #12 will come out on June 29, 2011.
I should open with this statement: I do not know Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, or anyone who works at Oni Press. I say this because I am about to lay down yet another glowing review of this series.
This issue is the start of a new story arc and I’m sure it’s cliché by now, but it really is a great point for new readers to jump on. Bunn lays out the basics of the series over the first few pages, but does so without drowning us in exposition. We also get plenty of small character moments that give us what we need to know about our cast without it feeling heavy-handed.
What’s particularly interesting is that Bunn is able to make this feel like a new start even though he’s picking up on pieces that were introduced in the book’s first storyline. The story is laid out in way that should make any new reader interested in learning more, but doesn’t give so much information that it would seem daunting. Conveniently enough, there are now two trades out that collect the previous storylines, so anyone who enjoys this issue will have an easy time getting caught up.
There’s a lot I could say about Brian Hurtt’s art, but I’m going to stick with something that seems to be one of the watermarks of great artists: backgrounds. This isn’t to say that Hurtt’s characters and storytelling aren’t at a superior level. But his backgrounds are the unsung hero of this title. Every panel is filled with details that make the time and place of The Sixth Gun real. The brief glimpse inside the Widow Hume’s house, the crowd in front of the sheriff’s office, the inside of the train cars — these backgrounds bring this book to life and set it firmly in the Old West, perhaps even more so than the obvious markings.
One of the best things about this book is the fact that it’s unpredictable. Not that we’ve seen any huge left turns over the course of the series, but that potential exists. I don’t feel like any of the characters are considered off limits. Drake and Becky are our main characters, sure, but the story revolves around the Six (which are guns, thus the title!). While reading the first page of this issue, I couldn’t help but think about how great it would be to see more of the history of the guns, if not some of their future.
The Sixth Gun is easily one of the best books being published today. If you like westerns, the supernatural, or just good comics, you should be reading this book. Oni has done a great job of making it as readily available as possible, so do yourself a favor and give this issue a shot. It’s always a great time to read The Sixth Gun, but there might not be a better issue to start with.
Kyle Garret is the author of I Pray Hardest When I’m Being Shot At,” available now from Hellgate Press. His short fiction has been published in the Ginosko Literary Journal, Literary Town Hall, Children, Churches, & Daddies and Falling Into Place. He writes comic book reviews here at Comic Bulletin and blogs for PopMatters. He can be found at KyleGarret.com and on Twitter as @kylegarret.