Thursday, November 1, 2012

Diego Chi Reviews: THE SIXTH GUN #26


Reviewed by DIEGO CHI

WRITER: Cullen Bunn
ARTIST: Brian Hurtt
COLORS: Bill Crabtree
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S.


The Sixth Gun continues to be an exciting pull every month, marrying the thrills of western gun-slinging with the horrors of the occult. I'm happy to see that 26 issues in, Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt still manage to satisfy my thirst for action and simultaneously put a pit in my belly.

If you haven't yet checked out these books, the story centers around the pursuit of six mystical guns that are fabled to both create and destroy the world. The heroes, Drake Sinclaire and Becky Montcrief, have been stranded in a super-natural blizzard and hunted by a spirit creature called a Wendigo. In order to find Becky and Drake, an unlikely alliance has formed between Gord Cantrell (an ally), Kirby Hale (a thief), and Asher Cobb (a nine-foot-tall mummy. Yes, I said "mummy").

Issue #26 opens with Drake recalling a past encounter with a Wendigo, a creature of many forms. This flashback sequence introduces a woman named Abigail, a former employer of Drake. Drake had been hired by Abigail to track a group of thugs but when they came upon the camp of their bounty, they found only decapitated bodies. A stag-like Wendigo then suddenly appeared, wearing the heads of the thugs on its antlers– quite the chilling visual.

The story then shifts to Gord, Kirby, and Asher's quest to find Becky and Drake. The three are ambushed by an extremist group called the Knights of Solomon, who seek the six guns for their own purposes. This leads to a thrilling horse and wagon chase– the fast paced action makes for a nice break from the drawn out suspense of the first sequence.

Returning to the flashback, the climax hits when Drake figures out how to defeat the Wendigo: by killing the remaining thug who had become possessed by the creature, yet was still alive. As Drake and Becky search for the new Wendigo host, the issue closes with a gut-wrenching reveal– this time the creature had possessed a group of women and children. Will Drake kill the innocent to save himself and Becky? Good grief, what a cliffhanger!

Cullen Bunn's writing packs a lot into this single issue, perhaps a hair too much. Abigail's characterization was too varied between "confident" and "paralyzed with fear" to get a clear grasp on her, but Bunn usually reveals deep wells of intrigue in his characters so I look forward to her development. Brian Hurtt's visuals are fully capable of both gruesome mutilations and expressive head-shots. The tone and voice of the dialogue is heavily carried by the way Hurtt draws the eyes– sometimes cold and steely, other times full of terror or surprise. Bill Crabtree's colors add emotion to the elegance of Hurtt's style. He gracefully shifts the bleak mood during the flashbacks and winter sequences to the energized feel of the wagon chase. Overall, issue #26 proves Bunn and Hurtt have long since figured out that well-crafted plot and well-paced visuals make for a great comic.

Rating: 9/10

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