The Sixth Gun is a snappy, fast paced read that is deeply rooted in the western gunslinger genre while quickly outstripping such a classification with its supernatural and mystery elements. I picked up the first trade paperback (collecting issues #1-6) on a lark, and after reading the first couple pages, I couldn’t put it down. I am not usually drawn to the western genre, other than the occasional Clint Eastwood movie, or the recent True Grit, but this comic hooked me with its intriguing characters and superb graphic layout.
Written by Cullen Bunn, the plot revolves around six legendary cursed guns. Set after the American Civil War, the protagonists managed to prevent an undead Confederate general from opening a gate to hell in the first TPB volume. Now bound to these hell-spawned pistols, the mysterious gunslinger Drake now seeks to both protect his allies and rid himself of these damned six shooters.
Other than the plot, which is fun and engaging, what really caught my eye was just how well this comic is illustrated. Not so much the pencil technique, which is still good and best described as a “clean sinister style”, but rather, the panel layouts. Packing more action and plot development into each page than some comics put into an entire issue, the story remains an easy, quick moving read. Brian Hurtt manages to keep up the detail and intensity that is usually reserved for splash pages in every panel.
Issue #8 launches several new plot threads, so I would recommend beginning with the first graphic novel, and enjoying the series from its start.