Sunday, November 06, 2011

Six Guns #1 - A Review

One of the things that makes mainstream superhero comics so attractive to their readers is the concept of a shared universe. We like the idea that a kid with spider powers can exist in the same world as a spirit of vengeance who drives around on a flaming Harley, and when done correctly, it can be fun to see how they all work together.

Six Guns is an example of the kind of book that takes advantage of that kind of shared universe.

Set in Texas, this book involves only one superhero, a D Lister named Tarantula, and we never see her in costume. However, what we get is the kind of western action story that only really makes sense in a superhero universe. This kind of stuff would seem perhaps a little too over the top in a regular book, but place that same story at the fringes of the Marvel universe and it fits in perfectly.

In short, a motorcycle gang led by a large man named the Black Rider hijack two Texas Rangers (the law enforcement officers, not the baseball team) and seize their prisoner, the aforementioned Tarantula. In the process, one of each gets killed and Texas Ranger Tex Dawson swears vengenance. The gang delivers Tarantula to a shady group of people for a pile of cash, which happens to have a bomb under it. By the end of the book, pretty much everyone is looking out to avenge somebody else and they all seem to be on a collision course with one another.

Six Guns is written by Andy Diggle and drawn Davide Gianfelice, the same creative team that brought us the unfortunate Daredevil Reborn. Thankfully, this effort is much better. The story zips along and looks great doing it. Unsurprisingly from the man who wrote the Losers, perhaps the best action comic of the past ten years, the action is the real draw here. The car heist and subsequent gun battle are interestingly and inventively staged and never boring, something that not all comics are that good at doing.

As far as I can see from this issue, and I could be proven wrong, you could probably stage this as a Vertigo series without too much difficulty, but I think it would lose something in the process. Putting this on the fringes of an established universe somehow make its crazy action set pieces more plausible and all the mundane stuff more fun. The world it’s in enriches the comic and the different setting and take of the comic enrich the world it’s set in.

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