Deadlands: The Devil’s Six Gun (Image Comics)

An alternate Old West plays home to a twisted tale of revenge in this comic set in the world of the Deadlands role-playing game.

27 pgs., color; $2.99
(W: David Gallaher; A: Steve Ellis)
Deadlands: The Devil’s Six Gun is a one-shot from Image Comics that takes place in the setting of Pinnacle Entertainment’s Deadlands role-playing game, an alternative history setting that mixes American Old West with classic and contemporary horror themes. Think werewolves toting six-shot pistols and zombie Civil War soldiers mixed in with Native American mysticism and generally just weird stuff in a later 1800s cowboy setting.
With all this as his backdrop, writer David Gallaher delivers a classic story about a young genius from Prague named Copernicus Blackburne who is charged with the commission of building a “gun that can kill the devil” by Samuel Tygian. In exchange for his services, Tygian provides Copernicus’ family with a very generous stipend, so long as Copernicus dedicates himself to his task. Tygian gives Copernicus the essential element of this devil-killer weapon: Ghost Rock, an unknown substance found in this alternate Wild West setting that has supernatural powers. As the story progresses, Copernicus finds himself away from his family for longer and longer periods as the completion of his invention eludes him.
At its core, The Devil’s Six Gun is a story of a man’s obsession slowly leading to his ruin and damnation. The irony is that Copernicus only took on this assignment as a way to provide for his family and it is this same goal that leads to him losing his family with a sad, lingering, heartache that is reminiscent of a classic Edgar Allan Poe tale. And also, like the great master of horror would have done, the story can only end in revenge.
Steve Ellis’ art is top notch, which you would expect from an artist who has drawn for all the major comic book companies as well as numerous book illustrations for gaming companies like Wizards of the Coast and White Wolf. His work here is an excellent example of the use of muted colors to emphasize the time period, location, and atmosphere of the story. The drawings have a very dynamic quality and Ellis does an excellent job of bringing a sense of motion to characters in scenes that take place in small spaces. The reader can see Copernicus morph from the young, bright good hearted man from Prague to the dark, brooding, tortured soul that he becomes a the end of the story.
Deadlands:The Devil’s Six Gun is a nice summer read to round out your weekly comics purchase, and with a cover price of only $2.99, there is little risk involved. Fans of the Deadlands game will surely be thrilled with this nice bit of lore to add to their campaigns, but those who know nothing about gaming can still enjoy this for the dark tale of alternate history that it is. | Ryan Parker
Click here for a preview of Deadlands: The Devil’s Six Gun, courtesy of Comic Book Resources.

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