Shadow Roads is a sequel series to The Sixth Gun. I’ve had the pleasure of reading the first collection. It was an absolute blast bringing together the old West and the undead into a rollicking affair of shoot-outs, magical weapons, and demons bent on domination. That is the extent of my Sixth Gun knowledge, but I can say that this issue of Shadow Roads taps back into that world that I enjoyed so much.
Cullen Bunn (storyteller extraordinaire) and Brian Hurtt [his incredible collaborator on The Sixth Gun series and The Damned (which weaves demons and 1940s gangster tropes into a wonderfully wrought story of damnation, salvation, and revenge] introduce us to two story threads. On one hand, we meet Henry, a Native American who finds himself living in high society who, along with Barry, his sort of befuddled, awkward, white man Watson, are checking out a museum of Native American culture. Henry feels uncomfortable and underwhelmed until a Native American woman gives him a strange dagger made of bone . . . and magic. Henry and Barry quickly find themselves entangled in a struggle against some undead with a well-dressed madam by the name of Abigail Radmayne who wields a shotgun with ease.
Meanwhile, a gunslinger who speaks to dead people tracks down a female “pistelaro” by the name of Isabella O’Dooley to go after an unnamed supernatural force.
The dialogue is great and the flow and rhythm of this first issue is spot on thanks to A.C. Zamudio’s really fun panel work. The colors of the old West with hints of a supernatural presence are lushly rendered by Carlos Zamudio with reds, browns, and purples.
The characters are fun and distinct. Especially fun is the portrayal of the old white man who doesn’t realize how racist he’s being in the Native American museum. For the brief time we spend with them, I also really like O’Dooley and the man seeking her out, Chesapeake “Chester” Smith. Maybe because it’s the old West and maybe it’s because Bunn and Hurtt are dealing with Western tropes, but all of the characters feel like archetypes, and they’re making a great choice by leaning so strongly into this. The characters are immediately known to us, and this will give the creators the freedom to subvert and have fun with the world around them as they go along. I’m on board, and you should be, too!
Creative Team: Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt (writer), A.C. Zamudio (illustrations), Carlos N. Zamudio (colors), Desiree Wilson (editor), Keith Wood (designer),
Publisher: Oni Press
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