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‘The Sixth Gun vol. 1’: a graphic novel review

The Sixth Gun is a volume I picked at a convention. I hadn’t heard anything of the series and came not knowing what to expect. The back cover billed it as western horror series. The plot of the series revolves around 6 guns with powers, and an unknown collective power, that were created by a Confederate General cultist (basically). If someone touches one of these guns that possess it for life, and if someone else touches it burns them. With that basic introduction out of the way, let’s delve into the first volume of The Sixth Gun.

Writing:

The Sixth Gun is a series that is very much plot driven work, with the characterization taking the back seat. Most of the narrative focuses on that of Becky Montcrief, who serves as the female protagonist on the work. Despite her being the central character of focus she is given little characterization and development. I’m not sure if this is something to change, but it’s not really present in this volume. Instead, the antihero, Drake Sinclair, is far more interesting. While he doesn’t a ton of development, what he is given is interesting and in future volumes he’ll be the most interesting character to watch.


The plot concerning the six guns is fairly interesting. Writer Cullen Bunn has done a careful job of not revealing much regarding them in the first few issues. Unlike the guns, Bunn quickly rotates villains. In this volume we see them introduced and dismissed. A few of them have long lasting potential, and it’s sort of disappointing to see them go. What this series does really good is the atmosphere. The use of supernatural is blended really well into the Western setting and it’s a lot of fun to read. It doesn’t seem forced. This is a really well created supernatural world. The writing on the whole is fun.

Design:

In this review, and all future reviews the design section will be integrated with writing or art depending on their use in the work.

Art:

The Sixth Gun is another Oni Press publication, and so the art for the most part is more than the cartoon-ish side. But it’s not as simple as Lost at Sea, but more similar to Eric Powell’s The Goon, in my opinion. Artist Brian Hurtt does a good job at conveying the atmosphere intended by Bunn. A lot of the more supernatural moments are quite excellent (my personal favorite being The Gallows Tree). And like Bunn’s writing, he blends the supernatural and western elements nicely together. His character designs are good, giving individuals distinct looks. The colors are good as well. Most are used to complement both the supernatural and their physical settings.


Final Opinion:

The Sixth Gun isn’t the best horror comic out there. Even so, the series has a lot going for it. Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Brian Hurtt work really well together (not surprising since they’ve worked on previous projects together). As I’ve said it’s not the best horror comic, but the concept of western horror is done well. It’s a tough subject to work, but it’s handled properly. And with lots of plot still left after this volume I’m interested enough in continuing the series. This is very much a horror-adventure series, so I only recommend to those that have enjoyed stuff like Hellboy or The Goon. If you do read it, you’re most likely to enjoy it.

The Sixth Gun is created by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt. It’s distributed by Oni Press. Cullen Bunn wrote the series and Brian Hurtt is the artist.


The first issue was available for Free Comic Book Day, and is available in PDF form here.

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