Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Sixth Gun: Dust to Death Review (Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt)

Dust to Death is the last Sixth Gun spinoff, comprising two three-issue arcs: Dust to Dust and Valley of Death. The first is good, the other is absolute drivel!

Cullen Bunn writes Dust to Dust, the backstory to Billjohn O’Henry. Billjohn’s working as a bounty hunter, trying to find a cure for his sick daughter before he discovers a possible magical fix. I guess the ill child angle is a bit clich├ęd but the story’s solid and effortlessly held my attention so I didn’t mind. Watching Billjohn work and then chase after a troupe of snake oil salesmen was entertaining as hell and the story is very well-written. It’s also nicely drawn by Tyler Crook and I especially liked the single panel watercolour visions of the future, foreshadowing/reminding the reader of Billjohn’s tragic fate in the main Sixth Gun title.

The second and final story, Valley of Death, is a travesty! Brian Hurtt is yet another example of an artist trying and failing to be a writer. You can tell a bad writer when the pages are clogged up with tons of writing, none of which tells you anything and still leaves you unclear as to what the story is, who the characters are, and why anything is happening. There are Native Americans, demons, monsters – who knows what it’s about? It’s a total mess! A. C. Zamudio’s art though is excellent with some very striking visuals. Hurtt needs to study good comics writing, the kind his Sixth Gun co-creator Cullen Bunn often produces, to see how it’s done properly. The Lil’ Sixth Gun backups, featuring chibi versions of the characters, are cute but forgettable.

Dust to Death is worth checking out if you’re a Sixth Gun fan but only for the Billjohn story and the strong art throughout – avoid reading the incompetently-written Valley of Death and just enjoy the pitchers in that one instead!

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