Let’s start with something that people just don’t seem to talk about enough when it comes to these special hardcover collections: the size! Seriously, this thing is huge. You think that DC’s Absolutes are big? Well… they are, but The Sixth Gun HC Vol. 1 is even bigger. It won’t fit on my shelf, not even if I try and gently (shove) try and tuck it in there. It’s literally a few hairs too big! For somebody who can be (is) OCD about his comic trade collection and their alphabetacle-ness, it was bad enough that the IDW Artist Edtion for John Byrne’s Fantastic Four was too big to fit on my shelves, but now this?! Sigh…
Alright, small size complaint—which really isn’t a complaint—aside this collection is awesome. Oni Press knows how to do collections like nobody’s business. The paper quality, which seems to be something we either don’t notice or totally take for granted, is awesome. This is a quality collection all around, and more than worth the $60.00 price tag.
Now, if you’re like me and you’ve been living under a rock and/or have been waiting for a collection such as this before getting into The Sixth Gun then now is the time! This collection is a great, great way to read this series and stands out heads and tails above the regular trade paperback editions—which I’ve looked at and, knowing that a better collection would eventually come along, passed on. I have a tendency to get the trades right off the bat, and then when an awesome hardcover collection is released I have to try and trade in my pristine trades for the hardcover. I’ve (slowly) learned that I should just wait for the damn hardcover.
But enough of all that, let’s talk about what’s inside the book and on those high-quality pages! The Sixth Gun is, really, a supernatural western story about six guns that have certain abilities and just might turn the wielder of said gun bat-shit crazy. These guns also can’t change hands unless the person who wields them dies and if anybody gets handsy, they’ll burn you somethin’ fierce. Just based on that little recap alone, I want to read it again.
Writer and co-creator Cullen Bunn just has a great story here that he’s executed extremely well, and considering it’s still an on-going series there’s obviously a lot more Sixth Gun where this came from. Bunn has gone on, after the success of this series that I’ve never heard a bad thing said about, to write a string of big titles for Marvel as well as another Oni Press/creator owned series Helheim—which is also awesome and you should go read it. Bunn’s characters are excellent and well developed even if the main character isn’t the cleanest as far as heroes go, and his set of baddies rocks. I do have one gripe, or maybe it’s more of a question, when it comes to the story…
SO BE WARNED! FOR THOSE THAT HAVE NOT READ THIS SERIES YET, THE FOLLOWING MIGHT BE CONSIDERED SPOILERS SO DO NOT READ IT! SKIP IT! GO TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH AND CONTINUE READING!
Okay, so, for all those that have read this series I pose a question: why the hell is it so easy for Drake Sinclair to kill off the posse of bad guys that hold four of the six guns? It really felt like he wasted them quickly, grabbed their guns and kept on going. There was no real challenge to it… I doubt if he even broke a sweat. Maybe the series was in jeopardy of being cancelled early or was only meant to be a limited series and Cullen had to condense it into that first handful of issues. Or, maybe, Cullen just wanted to get right to the point and get to the “boss battle”. I don’t know, but it struck me as odd…
OKAY! BACK TO NON-SPOILERS!
So, on the art side of the coin, Brian Hurtt does a really, really great job on The Sixth Gun. Admittedly, I’ve not seen his work before diving into this collection—aside from the odd tweet or flipping through a trade, I guess—and he really blew me away. He colored the first few issues as well as draws and, I assume, inked it which is a lot of work for one guy and he does a great job of it. One of the issues, I want to say issue six, is almost all two page spreads as the battle with General Hume looms. Just a fantastic job that looked even more fantastic in this massive hardcover collection. This guy is definitely one to watch if and when The Sixth Gun ends.
So, in conclusion: buy this hardcover collection of an excellent series by two creators who pretty much hit every right button. I don’t care if I say you should buy things a lot, I mean it this time! There are far worse things you can spend your $60 on and not as many things that compare. Bunn and Hurtt have a knock out here, and I’m darn glad I finally got to read it even if that means I have to wait until NYCC 2014 for a second collection… god, that’s going to be a brutal wait.