Ever since “The Sixth Gun” made its debut in 2010, it’s been an impressive and entertaining series mixing action, suspense, westerns and horror into one cohesive whole. But if you aren’t reading “The Sixth Gun,” the new issue is kicking off a brand-new storyline, and it’s a great place to jump on board.
“The Sixth Gun” #18 answers the question of what happened to one missing character, Drake Sinclair, even as main character Becky Montcrief starts to get closer to his location. But while that sounds like a simple enough plot. writer Cullen Bunn keeps “The Sixth Gun” from ever getting too predictable. Seeing how Drake survived certain death, hid the mystical guns in his possession, and got captured is entertaining enough. But Bunn’s scripts always hit the ground running, and “The Sixth Gun” #18 is no exception. The underground lair of the Knights of Solomon is rife with possibilities, and getting a glimpse into the secret society’s inner workings is something that “The Sixth Gun” has quietly inched toward with each installment. It feels like Bunn’s once more doing what he does best: answering questions while opening up the story to brand-new possibilities.
At the same time, he hasn’t forgotten Becky; her trip into the town of Penance will initially feel much more familiar, the hero riding into the town full of miscreants. But in typical Bunn fashion, it almost immediately comes across that not everything is as simple as first glance would make you think. The connection to the Pinkertons is an interesting one, but once again it feels like we’re just scratching the surface. Whatever lies beneath Penance is bound to be much nastier than poor Becky is going to see coming.
Brian Hurtt continues to draw gorgeous art. The big moments, like the reveal of the Knights of Solomon’s lair, wouldn’t work half as well without his jaw-dropping depictions. All the little details, from the buildings and the stalagmites in the background to the strange numbered chambers near the edge of the lake, just beg the reader to want to know more. But Hurtt’s not just settling for getting those big moments right; every page looks great. Gabriel’s appearance with a Hand of Glory looks wonderfully eerie, for example, and the town of Penance itself is the sort of place that can’t help but give you the jitters. And as for poor Billjohn O’Henry, well, every time Hurtt draws him I simultaneously give off a little jump and also marvel at his perfect character design. As golems go, you don’t get much better than him.
“The Sixth Gun” is still impressing a year and a half later, and it genuinely pains me that more people aren’t reading (and therefore loving) this series. “The Sixth Gun” is one of the best ongoing series being published right now, period. No matter what the genre you enjoy, you owe it to yourself to try “The Sixth Gun.”