Monday, 29 July 2013

The Sixth Gun, Volume 1: Cold Dead Fingers by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt Review

Post-Civil War America, the Old West. Missy Hume, a menacing woman with mysterious motives, hires Pinkerton agents to track down a valuable gun which belonged to her late husband General Oliander Hume, currently in the possession of a preacher. But the gun falls into the hands of the preacher's daughter, Becky Montcrief, who discovers the gun has supernatural powers and imprints itself to the first person who wields it after its previous owner passes - in other words, only she can use this strange gun. And bad people are after her.

Meanwhile, treasure hunter Drake Sinclair finds Becky before the newly resurrected General Hume and his gang of outlaw horrors do, all of whom possess a gun with magical powers. Drake and Becky must gain control of all six guns to keep the mad General from unleashing an unspeakable danger into the world.

Volume 1 of the Sixth Gun series, Cold Dead Fingers, opens up like a gunslinger emptying his barrel in a duel - the action and characters come shooting out in quick succession. Cullen Bunn does a great job of getting the story going quickly and keeps the momentum up throughout the book, introducing you to characters and their world seamlessly. And while the chase story in the Western genre has been done to death, it really works well here because of the horror element thrown into the mix.

Bunn sets the scene nicely giving the book the convincing atmosphere of the Old West with town names like Brimstone and a cast that include the likes of preachers, cathouse owners, Pinkerton agents, and Civil War castoffs. He also subverts Western staples with the horror angle so that when the familiar sight of a hanging tree is introduced, it turns out to be an oracle where the hanged souls are forever bound but can see the future.

Also, the iconic six-shooters that are required for every Western become something other in this book. They're still weapons but are super-powered weapons. The six guns have six individual powers, such as one gun that has the power of a cannon, so when fired it has the impact of a cannonball instead of an ordinary bullet. Or the gun with the power of pestilence, rotting the flesh of everything its bullets touch.

Brian Hurtt's art in the book is really pretty. Cartoony in appearance at first glance, Hurtt believably conjures up the horrors on the page, drawing action really well and getting the period costumes and settings right. He draws both genres in this book superbly.

The Sixth Gun is a perfect mash-up of western and horror wrapped up into a highly entertaining comic. Where does the series go next? I don't know but after this excellent start, I'm saddled up for more!

The Sixth Gun Volume 1

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