Oni Press' first issue of "The Sixth Gun" was given out for free two months ago, as part of Free Comic Book Day. For everyone who missed it, I have good news: I'd have cheerfully paid full price for that first issue, and a second printing (that isn't free) is also shipping this week alongside the second issue. As for this new installment of Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt's western-horror-adventure comic? Well, it doesn't waste any time in getting right down to business.
Just like the last issue, "The Sixth Gun" packs a lot into its pages; a formerly dead general chained into his coffin, a cursed gun that gives its wielder visions, a hunter of strange artifacts, and all sorts of spectral creatures. Bunn's story moves quickly, ushering Drake Sinclair and Becky towards each other even as Mrs. Hume and the General also intersect. I'd have expected this meeting of characters to happen much further down the line, and I think that's part of what I like about Bunn's writing on "The Sixth Gun." He's not wasting any time, or padding things out longer than they should go. Instead the book hits the ground running, rising up an army of the undead and culminating in a good old fashioned shootout. Well, one with cursed guns and a rather hellish army of bad guys, that is.
Hurtt's art continues to be a knockout as well. I love all of the little touches he brings to the comic, like the red shading that saturates Becky's visions given to her by the Sixth Gun, or the way Mrs. Hume's eyes grow to the size of soup plates when she's excited even as the pupils remain little dots, giving her an eerie look. The character designs in general are great, too; the General could have looked ludicrous chained up in his coffin, but instead Hurtt makes him look fearsome and dangerous despite his lack of mobility. Last but not least, Hurtt's colors pop off the page, accentuating just the right moments and characters while never looking garish or crazy.
The only thing I found myself missing in "The Sixth Gun" #2 is that sense of world building that Bunn and Hurtt gave us in the first issue. There were so many great details embedded throughout that first issue that I miss having those extra pieces of information and a tour of the weird, strange landscape of America that the two created. It's understandable that it's not present this issue, considering how much action and plot development happens, but I do hope we see some more in future issues. Bunn's ideas are so inventive and cool that I'm finding myself antsy for more of them, and soon.
"The Sixth Gun" had a top-notch debut issue, and this follow-up has assured me that it's a series I'll be reading for a good while. If you missed "The Sixth Gun" the first time, this is a rare second chance. Don't let it pass you by, this is great stuff.