Six Guns #1(of 5) - 'Six Guns, Part One' - Diggle, Gianfelice and McCaig
Story - Is it just me or is the Western making a comeback? What with this book, All-Star Western, Dark Tower and also Scalped, that's more comics about men in white hats chasing men in black hats (except these days pretty much everyone has a grey hat on) than you'd really expect in the 21st century. And it's not just in comics! Last night saw the debut of AMC's new Western drama Hell On Wheels, and both Justified and Sons Of Anarchy have strong links to Westerns, amongst other things. Hell, even Quentin Tarantino is working on a Western The genre, long thought dead, is doing pretty damn well for itself.
Now Six Guns isn't really a Western per se, it's set in the present day for one thing, but we all know that the Western isn't confined to just one time period, and for me, takes the best of those classic Marvel Westerns and gives it a much-needed modern twist. Unlike Jonah Hex, a lot of Marvel's cowboy heroes are kind of lame, and they need this kind of updating, especially when it's in a way that makes sense, rather than making them a flaming queen for no reason (See Rawhide Kid, The).
This book promises to feature revamped versions of several classic Marvel characters, such as The Black Rider, Texas Ranger and Two-Gun Kid. We only see a couple of these characters in this opening issue, but they are introduced well, and work as characters even if you aren't particularly familiar with the originals. The Black Rider in particular interests me, he starts out the issue as a villain, tangling with the Texas Ranger, but when he's double-crossed at the end, it sets him up as something far more interesting.
I mentioned Black Rider being double-crossed, and it's these double-crossers which form the central through-line of the plot so far. Some mysterious figures with mysterious motivations are manipulating all of our central characters. It has something to do with Mexico, but other than that? I'm in the dark and can't wait to find out.
Overall this was a great first issue, in much the same way that he subtly revamped classic DC War Comics characters in The Losers, Andy Diggle has taken a bunch of old, unused cowboys, and given them a new shine. This modern Western may not be to everyone's taste, but it is to mine, and I'm pleased as hell to see the genre back and selling well in comics. Marvel and DC need to diversify beyond just doing superheroes, and this is a step in the right direction.
Art - Davide Gianfelice is an artist I first came across in the first story arc of Northlanders, and whilst his art was good then, he's taken a leap here. His work in this issue is incredibly dynamic and fun, and really reminds me of Jason Pearson at times, which is high praise indeed. He handles the violence of the story well, and he works very nicely with Diggle. They worked together on Daredevil: Reborn, which was actually pretty similar in tone and setting to this book, so this could be a great creative partnership in the making.
Best Line - 'I'll send you a postcard... from San Diablo', say it in your best Clint drawl.