It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to say that The Sixth Gun has become something of a critical darling amongst jerks like me who keep telling open-minded readers like you that you should read this book. And I’ll be honest; I know that a never-ending stream of glowing reviews can sometimes turn into white noise. But, really — this book is something special, a breath of fresh air among the racks of average superhero books, and a book that — while a period piece — doesn’t seem to be confined to any particular genre.
Sophomore story arcs can be tricky things, often allowing the concept to expand beyond its initial trappings, but that expansion can water down the core. New characters are introduced, but the key is balancing those characters against the main cast. This can be particularly hard for an independent comic book that — at least initially — has no real idea of how long it will last. But Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt manage to expand the world of The Sixth Gun without losing focus.
This issue marks the culmination of the New Orleans storyline which, as you’d imagine, plays up the supernatural elements of the book. It appears that all sorts of evil creatures want the Six, the mystical guns that are supposed to bring about the end of the world. Even regular old criminals want the guns. And everyone seems to be making a play at different members of the group to try to get them.
Bunn does an amazing job of keeping this cast of characters ambiguous, but not keeping them so distant that we don’t care about them. Drake’s motivations still aren’t entirely clear, although he seems to have multiple reasons for being involved. Becky would appear to be an innocent dropped in the middle of all this chaos, but there seems to be more to it than that. And at this point we know so little about Gord that his involvement could mean anything.
Still, we feel Becky’s rage after having been duped by the thief Kirby Hale. We feel Drake’s dedication to Billjohn. In fact, it’s Drake’s faith in Billjohn — even after he’s dead — that makes the climax to this story work; it brings it back full circle to the initial storyline, and the price that Drake has paid so far in this series.
Brian Hurtt’s artwork never fails in this book. Every page is full of detail and atmosphere and it’s clear that his number-one priority is telling the story. Yes, he can bring the giant-panel action like the spread across pages 4 and 5, but he knows when it’s necessary or effective. This book covers a wide range of elements, and Hurtt nails every panel.
Two arcs in, and The Sixth Gun shows no signs of slowing down. Hopefully, it will rack up as many new readers as it does glowing reviews.