The idea behind “The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun” seems like an easy win: chronicling the stories behind the previous holders of the First through Fourth Guns, the evil men that General Hume had alongside him in his reign of terror. But after the first four issues gave glimpses into the lives of each of these bad guys, the big conclusion in “The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun” #5 has Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Brian Churilla trying to tie everything together. Honestly, abandoning the overall plot might have been the better way to go.
Bunn and Hurtt do their best to make all of the previous stories intersect, but it quickly becomes clear here that the strength of issues #1-4 was learning about the back history of each of the General’s Horsemen. Bunn and Hurtt have a quick round-up of the pieces laid out up until now, but none of them were the high or even medium points of those issues. The big threat lurking in the background ends up feeling like it’s coming out of the blue, and it’s not interesting to boot.
It doesn’t help matters that because this is a prequel, readers know that the main characters all survive; they need to stick around long enough to appear in the first “The Sixth Gun” storyline, after all. Now that “The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun” is over, it’s hard to keep from feeling like a series of straight origin stories (rather than interconnected ones) that were all one-shots might have been a more interesting way to go; it avoids the need for a big conclusion, and would have also given Bunn and Hurtt more room to tell just the origins themselves.
Churilla’s art looks nice here. While the overall designs of the monsters don’t particularly stand out, finer details like the ripples of flesh and the veins popping out give an interesting texture that catch the eye. When Missy Hume first shows up, Churilla does an especially good job; there something about that smile on her face that instantly screams evil, and that’s always been a strength of the character when Hurtt draws her. All in all, the pages are easy to follow and the art gets the job done, with nice little flourishes to keep the reader from getting bored.
It’s a shame that “The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun” #5 ends up the weakest issue of the mini-series, because the earlier issues were a bit more entertaining. “The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun” feels like a good idea that had some execution problems. Die-hard readers of “The Sixth Gun” (which remains one of my favorite ongoing series) will find something to like here, but if you’ve been curious about the series as a whole, this probably isn’t the best jumping-on point.