Written by Cullen Bunn and drawn by Brian Hurtt
Published by Oni Press
It’s time to return to the first series that I ever reviewed, The Sixth Gun by Bunn, Hurtt and Crabtree. This supernatural Western has risen to become one of my favourite ongoing series and I am well overdue to ramble some more on its greatness.
After the adventures in the first volume, (Cold Dead Fingers) our protagonist Drake Sinclair and his friends are holed up in New Orleans, trying to find a way to sever his the connection to the Six, the magical six guns to which he and Becky are bonded. Being the bayou there is a whole swamp full of mystical practitioners available to offer advice and naturally Drake goes to the worst of them for help.
The honest, straight forward story telling by artist Brian Hurtt is a revelation on re-reading this book. The panels are all simple but never boring, the eye follows directly across each page and never gets lost, there are lots of great details in the panels but never to excess. All the characters are distinct and even in the midst of chaotic busy scenes you never lose track of what is going on. Hurtt makes the whole sequential art business seem so easy. Why is this not the best-selling book in comics?
Much acclaim needs to go in the direction of Mr Crabtree and the exceptional job he does colouring this series. I was struck by the brighter, pastel tones of the scenes with Becky in the Crescent City. Everything is brighter and lighter and this reflects the tone of the story brilliantly, of course everything darkens as the story develops and Becky loses her innocence.
Drake in contrast is in a dark and lonely place. Wishing to be rid of the magic weapons he is tied to and feeling responsible for his friends both living and dead weight heavy upon him. He searches for a way to sever the mystic connection and be free.
This book walks a line so perfectly it entertains like few others. The subject and themes are often dark and border on horror but it is so damn FUN. Cullen Bunn writes a tight and cohesive story that develops this world and takes the characters through their own arcs.
This volume is a great example of a comic being written for the trade. The six issues all lead to resolution, with an aftermath and then the story leads away to begin anew in the next volume. I know some people have problems with writing for the trade and the idea that it lessens monthly comics but for me this is perfect.
This is a comic that does everything so well that it makes it all look easy. It’s written so you don’t have to have read the first volume to understand the story but if you have you gain greater enjoyment. The writing and art are completely in sync and I love how the tone of the book is so balanced. This comic has been a joy to re-read and appreciate the craft that went in to making it.
Should I buy it? Straight after you have read the excellent first volume and right before you launch into the third. Fantastic and fun comics
Next week: One of the years best. The sci-fi/fantasy epic that is Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples.