Saturday, 21 September 2013

The Sixth Gun, Volume 4: A Town Called Penance by Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Tyler Crook Review

The Sixth Gun is one of those rare titles that, so far, four volumes in, hasn’t had a single bad book - hell, I’m not sure I’ve read a single bad issue! Volume 4: A Town Called Penance picks up Drake’s story as we find out what happened during the train heist of the last book. Drake is captured by some former accomplices from the bad old days and taken to their underground city/hideout to be tortured into giving up information on the guns’ location. Meanwhile the Sixth Gun has shown Becky where Drake’s being kept and is on her way to free him - but the town she shows up in is full of strange, physically warped people and a mean sheriff with a secret, and it looks like Becky’s going to have to fight her way in and out to save Drake!

The setup in this book is just so good: a mystery town - called Penance no less! How Old West is that? - in the middle of nowhere with freaky, disfigured people and an air of supernatural, Lovecraftian menace. Who doesn’t want to read a story with that setting? Bunn keeps the tension up as Becky discovers a rival group to those in Penance and begins unravelling a more sinister purpose to the town’s existence.

And let’s talk about Becky - if the last book didn’t convince you that she is the badass of the series, this book will. There’s an entire issue that’s silent - no words - where Becky storms the underground bandit stronghold singlehandedly and not only saves Drake but completely kicks the bad guys’ asses! And that’s after she shoots several bundles of dynamite in the air as they come zooming towards her! She’s so damn cool, I love how Cullen Bunn has portrayed her, especially in this book where she’s wearing Drake’s bowler while she’s doing all of this.

Once again, Brian Hurtt’s artwork is flawless. His interiors of the bandits’ stronghold are breathtaking and the action is seamless - he carries that silent issue completely and pulls it off masterfully. You understand everything that’s happening in the issue and follow Becky’s plan perfectly.

Kirby Hale makes a brief reappearance in the Tyler Crook-drawn final issue and continues his doomed storyline with Becky. Also making a welcome reappearance is the oracle hanging tree from the first book. While I don’t feel as strongly about Crook’s art as I do about Hurtt’s, it’s still first class artwork - whether it’s Hurtt or Crook, Bunn is always paired with an incredible artist in this series.

The fourth book is maybe the series’ most action packed yet and is another compelling addition to this excellent comic. The Sixth Gun is tremendous fun, and if other subgenres like sexy vampires are exhausted, the series shows how fresh and exciting the supernatural western subgenre is. Let’s see more great books in this vein!

The Sixth Gun Volume 4

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