By: Cullen Bunn (writer), Brian Hurtt (art), Bill Crabtree (colors), Douglas E. Sherwood (letters)

The Story: Becky & Drake continue their battle with the Wendigo while Gord, Kirby & Asher Cobb ride to their rescue.

Review (with SPOILERS): This hasn’t been the strongest storyline for The Sixth Gun.  It’s a simple matter of dilution because we’ve had a two-issue concept that was spread over 5-6 issues.  But, this issue provided a pretty snappy ending for the arc and made me hopeful for the future of the comic.

  • Streamlined storytelling: Compared to the rest of this arc, it was a big help to get many of the characters together in a singular “scene”.  Over the past few issues, we’ve had to watch Gord, Kirby and Asher coming together and the Sword of Abraham chasing after them.  That sort of storytelling is very diluted and leads to a series of 2-page “updates” on what each character is doing.  I’m sure it reads fine in the collected editions, but it is very hard to keep track of in single issues, month-to-month.  Finally, in this issue, all of those storylines melded into a whole and that allowed the creators to devote about half of the comic to the battle between the Sword of Abraham and Gord/Kirby/Asher.  It was much more satisfying.
  • Parallel worlds: Another thing that this issue did well was demonstrate how Becky and Drake had slipped through into another world that was dominated by the Wendigo winter-spirit.  I guess this was alluded to in past issues, but this issue made it crystal clear that they were standing in precisely the same place–just in a parallel world.  The art by Brian Hurtt helped to sell this idea by showing us similar landscapes from both worlds in alternating panels.
  • The “You have to kill me now” cliche: The Becky/Drake scene played out as you would expect.  Drake had allowed himself to be possessed by the Wendigo last issue, so we get the standard thing where he chases Becky around, then briefly gets “control” over his body again and begs Becky to shoot him before the Wendigo takes control again (“I can’t keep the Wendigo under control….not for long…”), and just as Becky steels herself to shoot Drake, they are saved.  Isn’t this the way every possession story goes where the possessed person attacks a loved one?  They always “wrest control” from the demon for a few moments and beg the loved one to run/kill them/whatever.  Bunn and Hurtt do a nice job with this scene, but it was still something we’ve seen before.
  • Crisp art that emphasizes storytelling: The art was at its crisp best.  The best thing about the art is that Hurtt isn’t trying to do too much.  It’s like he kinda knows what he is as a cartoonist and stays within himself.  There aren’t any stupid splash pages or places where Hurtt engages in some kind of weird page design.  It’s just panel-after-panel of relentlessly effective storytelling.  In a way, it almost reminds me of seeing stories from old masters like Jack Kirby or Wally Wood.  Those guys didn’t become famous by doing splash pages……they just methodically told the story.  Hurtt operates very much in the mold of Wally Wood’s “22 panels that always work”.

As for the bigger, ongoing story of The Sixth Gun, I’m curious where we go from here.  I can’t imagine this series running for 100 issues….although I guess there is no reason it can’t.  My assumption is that it would end somewhere in the 40-50 range and that means we should probably begin to get a glimpse of the final endgame very soon.

Conclusion: A nice issue that cleans up a kinda messy story arc.

Grade: B+

– Dean Stell