THE SIXTH GUN #3: weird western worth seeking out

THE SIXTH GUN #3 (August 2010, Oni Press)  written by Cullen Bunn;  illustrated and lettered by Brian Hurtt

          Perfect in every detail, THE SIXTH GUN deserves a bigger audience.  As long as it maintains this level of quality and entertainment value I’m going to write about every individual issue here.

          Issue #3 is a very important piece of the storyline, as more essential details are revealed and events that writer Cullen Bunn has been building up to get the spotlight turned on them.

6th Gun 3

          The power of the sixth gun that has bonded to Becky manifests itself first in her dreams and then whenever she holds or uses the gun for any length of time.  But it has more than one usage, as the concluding pages of the story reveal yet another ability.   Each gun has unique attributes and properties that transfer to the user.  These are all briefly explained, and we learn that the five other guns are in possession of General Hume’s four enforcers as well as his creepy wife.

          The properties of the sixth gun were directly responsible for the battlefield successes of General Hume, which is one of the reasons he wants to re-gain possession of it now that his body has been revived.   We also learn more of Drake Sinclair’s former association with General Hume and why he may not be the most trustworthy protector of Becky.  Both he and crusty companion O’Henry seem to be mapping their escape route/activities based on visions revealed to them by the mysterious Gallows Tree (first seen in Issue #1). 

          And the trio seem to be moving towards a mysterious Fort located in a swamp and surrounded by temporary grave markers, with an even darker secret excavation behind its walls.   These glimpses of the future/past are shaded by artist Brian Hurtt in tones of red and black only, in extreme contrast to the highly colorful panels depicting current events.

            Hurtt’s marvelous work on inks and colors really shines in this issue.  His realistic backdrops of the Western skyline are a perfect wash of colors, all the more remarkable for his abilities to include this much art/detail in a small panel format evocative of  1950’s EC horror books.

          There is much to admire and enjoy in THE SIXTH GUN.  If you like reading horror comics, dark Westerns, mystery or just enjoy a well-developed storyline that slowly unravels and gains depth as it continues - - then you should be reading this title.  Quit waiting for the as-yet-unannounced trade to come out  - - you’re missing too much fun.   Get it now either through your local comics shop, online source, or directly from Oni  (www.onipress.com)  - - before the values go up.

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