Or – “The Good, The Bad, And The Vaguely Familiar…”

This issue seems to be something like what must have happened in 1954, before Barry Allen discovered Earth-2.  The characters are familiar, the names ring a bell, but there’s some new elements in play…  Will it last as long as Barry and his ilk?

SIX GUNS #2
Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Davide Gianfelice
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Six Guns: It’s unclear how Maria “Tarantula” Vasquez got in bad with the criminals of the central American republic of San Diablo.  (Somewhere, Rodrigo just cringed.)  But her extradition involved the murder of a Texas ranger AND a biker gang, leading Tex Dawson, Texas Ranger and the mysterious Black Rider to follow her into the badlands.  All we’re missing is Lou Diamond Phillips and a cameo appearance by Keifer Sutherland, and we got us a show…

THE EYES OF THE RANGER ARE UPON YOOOOU…

Growing up, I remember interacting briefly with Marvel’s western comics long before I trifled with superheroes, having read issues of what I believe to have been Rawhide & Two-Gun Kid comics at my grandfather’s barber shop back in the early 70’s.  I’ve always been a sucker for a good western story, especially one that crosses the line between western & superheroes, like most of Marvel’s output, including the early 2000’s revamp by John Ostrander.  This issue is a pretty good western story.  It also takes place in the present, which makes the whole thing even more complicated and nuanced.  Ranger Tex Dawson has gone rogue, in the capital of San Diablo, searching for the men that killed his partner.  In the same city, we meet a new character, Matt Slade, Bounty Hunter, who has picked up the trail of the missing Tarantula, while we see the lady in question getting savagely beaten in order to get some sort of information.  The only problem with all of this?  We’re now an issue and a half into a 5 issue story, and we haven’t even completed the introduction of our dramatis personae.  Given Marvel’s recent restructuring and reconfiguring, I wonder if the writer might not have expected more than a miniseries out of these characters…

SHOT DOWN IN A BLAAAZE OF GLOORRRREEEE!

Elsewhere in San Diablo, The Black Rider seeks out a man named Del Fuego, reputed to have crafted the firebomb that killed his pals, and things quickly get out of hand.  The fact that Del Fuego’s name means, basically, “on fire” identifies another problem with this issue: gratuitous Spanish.  The city of Sierra del Diablo is the capital of San Diablo, which I’m certain is near San Carcharo, and now we’re cha-cha-ing.  The English dialogue is a bit better, but still somewhat overwrought, as the Rider discovers that Del Fuego has other enemies, notably a young man known only as the Two-Gun Kid, and the three-way gunfight that ensues is pretty entertaining.  Artist Gianfelice does really nice work throughout the issue, although I’m not entirely as enamored of the ultra-violence that ensues.  (A couple of characters have their heads blown entirely off on panel.)  Del Fuego is killed, and the Black Rider & Two-Gun set off in search of his boss as the issue fades to black…

THE VERDICT: INTRIGUING, BUT WHERE DOES IT FIT?

This is a solid comic book issue, telling an interesting story with a few flaws.  Nobody has a lot of backstory yet, and the plot is driving everything, and Tarantula is little more than a MacGuffin thus far.  There’s a part of my mind that wants to know how Matt Slade & Tex Dawson are related to the Silver Age western versions (as real names wouldn’t seem to travel 150 years as easily as code-names like Black Rider & Two-Gun Kid) while a larger part of me thinks that it should even matter.  Still and all, Six Guns #2 does a good job of setting up the elements of a thrill-ride with the tropes of classical Western storytelling, earning a strong 3 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  How hard is it for you to ignore continuity and just enjoy an issue?  How hard SHOULD it be?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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2 Comments

  1. SnowWolfNW
    November 19, 2011 at 10:58 pm — Reply

    If the storyline is well written and engaging I can set aside continuity concerns. All “one-offs” or mini-series that change or flat out omit longstanding continuity items get logged that way in the tappioca that serves as my brain. Changes in “known” history within established on-going series, however, are much harder for me to overlook.

  2. Luis Dantas
    November 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm — Reply

    Not hard at all. After all, it is something we all do all the time.

    Continuity hardly even exists anymore, in these days when I honestly can’t tell how many times the whole DCU has been rebooted (and the New 52 has major continuity problems from its very inception, as soon will become painfully apparent) and we are expected to accept that Wolverine can be in a dozen teams at once (I wish I was exagerating). Heck, it may take ten years or more until we even learn certain key elements of the backstories of the likes of the various Robins, the other Teen Titans and Barbara Gordon. Does Superboy-Prime even exist anymore?

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