The Sixth Gun: Valley of Death Review

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The Sixth Gun, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Brian Hurtt’s supernatural horror western, should have been done by now. The 50th issue will be its last and while #47 dropped in March, the main book has been on hiatus for six months as two, 3-issue spinoff series could run in its place. The first, Dust to Dust, gave some backstory for a character that died in the first arc but didn’t really further the overall apocalypse story. The second, Valley of Death, gave background to a very minor character and touched on the apocalypse plot, but was also a little less fun to read. That’s not to say it wasn’t interesting though, just very dense.

The second miniseries (which ends with this month’s issue) takes place well before our heroes Becky Montcrief and Jake Sinclair encountered the six guns that could bring about the end of the world and instead focuses on the Native American character, Screaming Crow, who first appeared as a spirit trapped in a bird skull in the main comic but still has his body here. It also features appearances from other characters first introduced but not fleshed out in the main comic. It also might be the darkest issue of the whole franchise.

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That’s truest for what happens to White Wolf, a character who began the miniseries as an arrogant warrior and ended it as a battered piece of meat cursed to spend eternity as Death’s plaything. These three issues have been a perfect hero’s journey for the character, complicating him and the story in a way that reminds readers how the battle against evil in this universe is long, complex and has room for many heroes. The arc’s ending even managed to subtly recall where things left off in the main comic and was a smart way for Bunn to get readers ready for the final arc starting next month. Still, maybe this and Dust to Dust could have waited until after #50.

More from the world of The Sixth Gun is never a bad thing. It’s dense enough to allow for exploring different aspects. But with the conclusion to the epic, main story so near, these miniseries ran the risk of feeling like yet another delay and unnecessary break in tension and they occasionally did. It was hard to fully care about whether Valley of Death’s characters could save the world when Becky and Jake would have to do it all over again and on a larger scale in the future regardless. VOD and Dust to Dust were both strong and featured great work from guest artists A.C. Zamudio and Tyler Crook, but they would have been enjoyable in the six months after Issue #50’s release.

Rating: 7/10
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