The Sixth Gun: Bound (#12 – 17) – Cullen Bunn

3 out of 5

A little too structurally, made-for-trade cute, Bound is nonetheless a solid arc in that it kick starts Sixth Gun down its longer winding road after the last arc worrisomely suggested we’d just be dueling it out in delaying battles until the end game.  Writer Cullen Bunn – and Brian Hurtt, and Bill Crabtree, and Douglas Sherwood – initially do this with very literal (er, well, within the narrative it’s literal) forward momentum: Drake and Becky and their five guns bound (weee!) on a train toward the protections of the Sons of Abraham.  We check in with Gord, researching the guns; we check in with Missy Hume, vampirically keeping herself young with her soul-stealing gun and tasking mummies to go and destroy Drake.

…Which is as fantastically pulpy as it sounds, gifting us with an excellent shotgun-wielding-train-passengers vs. horse-riding zombies widescreen action fest, with Drake and Becky trading blows with that six foot tall zombo who is there to steal the general’s body but then seems to twinge on something important to growl into Drake’s ear before doing so.

Tyler Crook steps in for the arc’s middle issue, exploring that zombie’s (aka Asher Cobb) backstory; Becky is held captive by the Sons; Gord’s knowledge trek has him assailed by the ghosts of his past.  And while these are all readable bits, with commendable character writing and acting, the foreshortening of the first “act” on the train to get to these three portrayals of boundedness (each character restrained in some fashion by their past, present, or future; cute, as I said) results in nothing really getting enough space to feel fully affecting.  The initial action is in a hurry to explode and end; Asher’s story has to quickly justify his whispher whisper in Drake’s ear – which, spoiler, it doesn’t, but rather just doubles down on its mystery, which is kind of annoying for a plot sidestep; Becky’s captivity lasts all but an issue before she threatens her way out; Gord eats a can of beans, burns down his past, and similarly conquers his travails in mostly a single issue.  While I’m not saying each of these pieces needed its own five-ish telling, I am suggesting that the very clear attempt to thematically evolve each character’s storyline within a trade-friendly format limited the overall impact.

Crabtree and Hurtt’s work together becomes more unified, here.  Some panels still look suspiciously flat, but the team finds a balance between page flow and detailing that thankfully becomes a staple of the book.

Onward Gord; on Becky; on drake; until we meet again.

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