The Sixth Gun Book 1: Cold Dead Fingers
written by Cullen Bunn and drawn by Brian Hurtt.
Published by Oni Press, Inc.
For some reason they don’t really make westerns any more, neither in film nor in comics. And when you find a book like this you really wonder why. The Old West is a such a great place to set a story, there are so many possibilities and places you can go. The Sixth Gun shows the way with it’s dark blend of cowboys, zombies and spirits, it’s take on the genre is supernatural western.
Our hero Drake Sinclair is introduced striking a bargain with the ghostly oracles of the Gallows Tree for the location of the fortune of a dead General. On learning what he needs and then not keeping up his side of the deal he show he is man of little fear and perhaps less scruples.
Thus begins this epic tale of revenge and the risen dead, Hell and Damnation and Six mystical guns. The guns bond for life with whoever picks them up and then grant the bearer enhanced strength and durability and other deadly powers. These range from bullets that cause fatal rotting of the flesh, others that raise the spirits of the folks that it has killed, one that strikes with the fires of hell and another that gifts eternal youth and healing from any injury.
The guns are held by the henchmen of a dead Confederate General named Oliander Bedford Hume and the wife who hopes to raise him from the dead. His henchmen have similarly fantastic names, Bloodthirsty Bill and Will Arcane and Silas “Bitter Ridge” Hedgepeth.
Brian Hurtt does a phenomenal job with the art in this book. He has a thick bold line to his work that is still very expressive. The panels are packed with motion yet never feel crowded. He can draw massed gun battles with supernatural Thunder Lizards or a battle with the undead in a cavalry fort and make it seem as though he is capturing the entirety of the scene.
The use of sound effects is outstanding in these panels, a KRAKKA-THOOM! for thunder is always appreciated and the sound of gunshots rings throughout the whole story. The effects occur around and between the other images with their size often depending on their impact on the action.
This is one hell of a tale that Cullen Bunn is writing here. Full of great characters and smart dialogue, six shooters and zombies. The fantastical side to things never overpowers the story and the pace is kept up the whole way.
This book is a collection of the first story from the ongoing series. It tells a complete story that still leaves plenty of scope for the characters to continue. This is comics done right.
Should I read it? Yes, this is a great, fun book.
But it? Definitely. These guys need to be encouraged to keep making rad comics!