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Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Sixth Gun: Cold Dead Fingers. Cullen Bunn (Writer), Brian Hurtt (Art & Letters), Oni Press (2011)

A great supernatural western that pushes a really strong plot and has a great cast as well. When the undead General Hume is rescued from a well in a monastery by his living henchmen the search for the Sixth gun  heats up. This gun is vital to Hume's plans and he wants it back, unfortunately the gun is bonded to woman, Becky Montcreif who does not understand the nature of the Sixth gun. Drake Sinclair is also looking for the Sixth gun and he helps Becky for reasons of his own. The story unwinds at a great pace, the reveals are cunningly staged and the climatic shoot out is wonderfully staged.
Culllen Bunn has managed to finely balance both genres, plot and cast so that all mesh without cutting across each other. The plot is very strong, it drives the story with force and depth, it never overwhelms the cast however. Becky Montcreif is a very unusual character, she is a positive female who has spirit and will to act for herself in a context where females are much more likely to to victims than actors. Surrounded by a cast who know a great deal more than she does and who are willing to go to great lengths ton get what they want, she is never weak or stupid. Drake Sinclair is a genre stereotype, a mysterious ally who may or may not be a problem or a threath, he has choices to make and agendas to pursue of his own. Cullen Bunn ensures that he never vanishes into the expected, he comes into his own dark life. It is the villains who provide the force in a story like this and there are superb villains in this story. General Hume is a pillar of raging greed for power and blood, his wife is a more silken version who may be considerably more dangerous. The supporting cast are both suitably grotesque and sharply individual.
The art by Brian Hurtt is a pleasure to read, it captures all the elements of the story with flowing ease. The Western context is used with nice effect, the details are consistently used to hold the story down while the supernatural elements are given full reign. The cast move with ease in the environment and respond to their circumstances with strong body language as well as words. The panel layout is used to give a strong focus on the story and the cast, each decision point is given the weight it deserves. A great substantial read.

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