Consider, for a moment, how many comics there are on the shelf that are extremely similar to one another. It’s kind of a bore when you think about it. Now ruminate on just how many westerns there are. Okay sure, westerns aren’t the biggest draw, especially to American readers, but it’s nearly zero unless you count the occasional anthology story or Jonah Hex. That means, when you see a gorilla sporting six shooters you take notice, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a mess of a comic with no meaning. So let’s ask ourselves, is it good?
Six Gun Gorilla #1 (Boom! Studios)
Talk about mind being blown. There are three major moments where you’re going to be reading this issue and say to yourself, “What the f--k, that’s insane!” And you’re going to love the s--t out of it. One might call them twists, but the way writer Simon Spurrier delivers these beats they’re more like saved up surprises that matter rather than throwaway twists. To stay away from spoilers however let’s talk about how this comic is so damn good.
That probably wouldn’t hurt…at least.
First off, we have ourselves a Civil War era-type opening with characters that talk just like they would in a really good movie. Spurrier’s dialogue is quite good and even when it runs a little long it’s melodic and interesting. So often dialogue can go down like a lump of dry sawdust, but here it helps convey so much by doing so little. This opening solidifies a mood and atmosphere you’ve seen before in many westerns, the characters in a train car on their way to war. Being on a train they have no way to escape and why would they? They want to be heroes after all. What occurs after the doors open and they set off is beyond anything you could imagine. Of course, with a guerilla wielding guns on the cover, maybe you could at least hope for the weird.
Hmm…that is odd.
The solicit for this issue actually divulges more story than the comic does, but luckily I didn’t read a lick of it and went in completely blind. I suggest you do the same. All you need to know is: there’s a war on, and our hero wants to die along with his compatriots for many different reasons. Oh, and this is a science fiction type comic with lots of weird things for you to be shocked at.
Not the horsies!!
Our hero has lost his wife and wants to die and joins up. Others are psychos and wannabe heroes; all that really matters is this is typically your one stop shop for death. The overall plot has aspects you may have scene before, but the world is so rich and new I can’t help but fall in love with it here. We’ll see how it pans out over its six issue run, but it’s clear Spurrier has a rather robust world to unravel as time goes on.
Jeff Stokely is on art and I can’t say you could get a better artist for a story like this. Panels are consistently moving in, out, close up and around which helps set a speed to the way you read the book. The physical atmosphere is also always interesting. Most artists don’t spend half the time Stokely has on backgrounds and it shows. Nearly every panel has something going on in the background, which helps add perspective. So often we just get the characters in the frame, but the scope of the terrain and the smallest wisps of smoke help add something to every page.
Andre May should also be commended on his work on colors. There’s a grit throughout that sets a scene quite well and when the blood starts to fly, and believe me it does, you’ll appreciate his work here.
- Pretty when it needs to be, but filled with a lot of grit
- Tons of surprises
- Compelling concept driving this story
And after all that, I didn’t even talk about the characters! They’re interesting and there’s enough humanity instilled in the protagonist for you to root for him. The gorilla doesn’t get a lot of play this issue—he’s used more as a surprise at the end—but judging by his guru-like demeanor I’m sure we’ll get a lot of him next month. This is an impeccable first issue made all the more strong due to its pacing and structure. Buy this book!
Is It Good?
Yes. Fun and exciting with plenty of surprises. Must buy!
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