Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s “The Sixth Gun” #28 is the penultimate chapter of “Winter Wolves,” a story that’s plunged main characters Becky and Drake into the Wendigo’s endless winter even as Gord, Kirby and Asher search for the duo while being pursued by the Sword of Abraham. In many ways this issue is a great example of why “The Sixth Gun” as a whole works so well, with tense plotting and clever ideas abounding.
Bunn and Hurtt have created a startlingly vivid atmosphere for the endless winter that Becky and Drake’s half of the issue takes place within. The visuals alone are impressive; Hurtt and colorist Bill Crabtree use a palette consisting of icy blues, whites and purples, so that you can almost feel the cold leeching off of the page as Becky runs through fallen icicles and large snow drifts. A chase set in the snow is great, in part because Bunn uses the obstacles that would naturally exist, and in part because that stark wilderness gives Becky nowhere to hide. And with Drake having surrendered himself to the Wendigo last month, the menace is that much stronger as he crashes after Becky, because no matter who wins the other character is losing. It’s a smart way to keep “The Sixth Gun” tense, twenty-eight issues into the series.
Bunn is smart, though, in that he cuts back and forth between the winter storyline and the other characters out in the real world. It would be easy to just have them wandering and looking for Becky and Drake, but Bunn has given them their own troubles and such as well. That’s what helps elevate this issue from good to great; the inventive ways that the trio fights off the Sword of Abraham keep the adrenaline level high, and Hurtt can draw a mummy hurling a flaming cart across a bridge with just as much excitement as he could the more traditional scenes.
Ultimately, “The Sixth Gun” #28 is great because everything ties together so perfectly. Each character has an important role to play; the real-world section helps bring the winter-world portion to a conclusion, and with one half missing “The Sixth Gun” #28 wouldn’t have been quite as interesting. But then again, that’s one of the hallmarks of “The Sixth Gun” as a whole. It’s full of big, crazy ideas that snap together with no warning and end up creating a world that is enthralling and inviting as it is dangerous. Even though “Winter Wolves” still has one more chapter next month (serving as epilogue), “The Sixth Gun” #28 is a thrilling conclusion to this storyline, delving as it does into its own mythology of the supernatural and horrific.
It’s no small wonder that the option to turn “The Sixth Gun” into a television series just got a pilot order; there’s enough ideas packed into just the comic alone to fuel multiple years’ worth of episodes. “The Sixth Gun” #28 is a great example of just that; brilliant ideas, fun plot twists and some beautiful art. Once again, Bunn and Hurtt have put together a fantastic comic. If you aren’t reading “The Sixth Gun,” you don’t know what a good time you’re missing.