Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art: Tyler Crook, Bill Crabtree
Reviewer: Paul A. DiNello
The Sixth Gun series from Oni Press has brought us an epic wild west show mixed with the supernatural that has delighted readers for years. The quest for the fabled Six Guns rages on but with Dust to Dust, writer Cullen Bunn delivers a real treat with a tantalizing prequel featuring fan favorite Billjohn O’Henry’s mission to save his dying daughter Sally. He will use all of the tools at his disposal and a few that aren’t as well.
The three-part series concludes with Billjohn’s failed attempt to steal a powerful artifact that could have healing attributes. He is staring down the barrel of the Immortal Girl six-shooter and is surrounded by her kin with no escape. Only Billjohn’s words can save him and he better talk his way out quickly if there is any hope of keeping Sally alive. It is a race against time where sacrifice and loss give our hero a chance at redemption but there is ancient magic standing in Billjohn’s path of achieving his ultimate goal.
Cullen Bunn triumphs in exploring the back story of Billjohn O’Henry, bringing to life a beloved character that while gone from the main story still resonates with readers. His devotion to family and what lengths he will go to protect them makes his adventures with Drake even richer. Bunn excels at instilling humor, action and real emotion to the Sixth Gun series and he succeeds in bringing the same character development to this companion mini-series.
Illustrator Tyler Crook brings the action to life with his superior penciling skills. He nails the range of Billjohn’s intimidating facial expressions, the glint of humor in his eye and the despair and fear he cannot keep at bay as time begins to run out to save Sally. Crook succeeds in matching The Sixth Gun’s main illustrator Brian Hurtt’s rendition of this world with perfectly drawn characters, detailed backdrops and effective shadowing that add to the story itself. What I found amazing with Bill Crabtree’s use of color, particularly in this issue, are the muted tones he uses as Billjohn finds himself captured. He then brings the feeling of hope alive with vivid hues as there is a slim chance to save Sally only to return to a darker scale as time runs out. The final frames are remarkable in their foreboding of things to come.
The Sixth Gun has been a well written, well drawn and well colored series and this prequel maintains the same high level of excellence set by its source material. If you are unfamiliar with this series; I highly recommend a trip to your local shop to not only pick up this title but to begin your immersion into the larger post Civil War world of The Sixth Gun.
5.5 out of 6 Guns