Four guns are unholstered for The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun, but this spin-off prequel story in The Sixth Gun saga misfires with its audaciously aimed showdown that pits one giant monster (we're talking 10 stories tall, here) versus cursed gunslingers to close this five issue series. Before we reach that point, a weird wild west storyline unfolds along different paths as each gun's owner brings us back to General Hume's hanging-tree demise starting point and onto their own slides down the slippery slope of perdition.
Each gunslinger can shoot bullets drilling deeper than mere death in their targets: Arcene's bullets carry firey doom; Kinney's bullets bring flesh-rotting ruin; Hedgepeth's bullets bring forth all the souls he's killed as golem-like vassals to do his bidding; and Sumter's bullets explode like cannonballs. A formidable firepower of destruction when directed by the evil General Hume or his soon to be widowed wife, the equally evil Missy Hume. She carries a cursed gun too, but in proper female stereotyping for comic books written by the boys, she only gets a youthful long life for every person she kills with her bullets. How vain.
Sumter wields the first gun, but it doesn't do him much good as he slowly dies of thirst in the desert. A lucky break with an Arabian Nights-styled Waters of Azad fountain hidden in the air, and a pack of human wolves hungering for its treasure, saves him for worse things to come. But he likes it that way, honing his mettle for destruction as the bodies stack up.
One by one, we come to really dislike, hope for salvation, strive to understand, and finally condemn these wicked men. What's not probed is why they must be so bad, but bad things they must do, and there's the more engrossing tale set against a little Cthulish ghoulishness with Arcene's mama making naughty with dark, demon-hided, men deep in the swamp. She looks like the Crypt Keeper, just not as witty and a tad more churlish. Arcene's family tree certainly does show more appendages than the normal allotment for siblings. But this interlude into his questionable parentage doesn't go further than his abrupt dislike for it before we're following Kinney as he suffers the pangs of unrequited love, gun-toting guilt, and the burden of a severe physical deformity causing ordinary folks, and would-be lovers, to shun him like the plague, which he pretty much resembles.
But a heartbeat is all we get to ponder the vagaries of his tribulation before we're following Hedgepeth and his battle with creatures infecting a small town. His gun leads him to the only solution he can figure out for the time allotted. Then off to the showdown with a plague of parasitic monstrosities that Brian Churilla's soft lines can't convey beyond a PG tone. Throat-ripping upchucked creatures, half-eaten men, they all carry as much visual gravitas as Arcene's family-gathering in the swamp. There's no oggling his pencils for emotional shock value; there isn't any where it could add to the scene's impact.
Instead, all threads within this hurried storyline, when they could easily have been separated into fully developed series indivdually, all culminate in a brief Kaiju battle more suited to a tokusatsu drama than a weird wild western. And since none of these gunslingers grows in size, like Ultraman, to meet the danger, the threat is spent with a few bullets so Missy Hume can step in and take charge to shed more blood.
Unless you've read the earlier issues of the comic book series, or the graphic book collections, you may find this one unsatisfying all by its lonesome. I'd recommend reading the others first to come up to speed before tackling this one.
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