Six-Gun Samurai GN Review - Better Than The Sum of Its Parts, But Still Bad
Updated: Sep 9, 2020
• Sean J. Jordan (Writer) • Harold Edge (Pencils-Covers)
• Teodoro Gonzalez (Colorist) • Mike S. Miller (Cover Artist - Creator)
• Blacklist Universe (Publisher)
Six-Gun Samurai is my second review covering Mike S. Millers MEG-SixGun Samurai-Deal with the Devil 3-Pack crowdfunding campaign.
Mike is listed as the creator of this franchise but isn't credited as being the writer or artist on the book. This is disappointing because I think the story would have come together better if he was more involved in the creative process. Not saying that Mike wasn't involved but the writing here is a noticeable step back from Lone Star or Deal With The Devil.
Before getting into the review I must mention that as I read the Graphic Novel several pages fell out of it. I'd never had this happen before so I'll assume it was a manufacturing defect. I'm not sure if I'll ever revisit this material post review so I won't bother asking for a replacement. I did drop the score of the Graphic Novel by a full point due to the error though.
Six-Gun Samurai has some great moments particularly toward the back half of the book but has one of the most terribly executed framing devices I've ever seen executed in a comic.
Six-Gun shows up in town and threatens to kill a barkeep when he refuses to sell him liquor after he correctly pegs the kid as a minor. The situation is de-escalated by a priest that "happens" to be in the bar. Why is the priest there? Who the fuck knows. Before leaving the bar the priest pulls the kid to the side and offers to protect him from potential reprisal from the law or the barkeep if he tells him how he got his swords.
The majority of the book is told in flashback with frequent cuts back to Six-Gun and the Priest. The scenes in the past should have been the entire comic and the stuff with the priest should have been removed entirely because they happen so frequently that they break the immersion of the comic.
The Priest's character is also written all over the place. One minute he's admonishing the kid for saying "Hell" the next he's offering the boy a drink. There is no editor credited on this title and it shows.
The book flashes back into Six-Guns past and his origins. We recount his relationship with his mother as well as sensei. This segment of the comic is actually good. The adventures Six-Gun get into with his Sensei are great and when the book stops using Titanic as a narrative template we get an actual comic that's worth reading.
The back half of the book is exciting and despite the cited flaws, I found myself invested. That's until Sean Jordan gives us the most cliched ending...ever.
Mike S. Miller does a pinup for Six-Gun Samurai and it's easily the best piece of art for the entire comic. The storytelling is there but the art gets really rough at times. There are panels in which I couldn't even make out what was happening. This is a trend throughout the book and goes back to the aforementioned bad framing and editing.
The book is set up like a pitch for a movie or television series but is pretty terrible aside from fleeting moments where the action gets to breathe and doesn't feel like a half-assed western version of Columbo.
It's not the worst comic I've ever read but it's definitely not worth a revisit.