Review: Six-Gun Gorilla: Long Days Of Vengeance
A very big ape with very big guns blowing very big holes in very bad people
SIX-GUN GORILLA: LONG DAYS OF VENGEANCE is the story of Kumba, an intelligent, sharp-shooting circus gorilla who blazes a trail across the Old West in search of the outlaws who murdered the man who raised him. Along the way he joins forces with his human sister, the only one who truly understands him, and Union spy Giuliano Schmidt. Together they uncover a much greater threat.
Every once in a while you hear about a comic you have to see to believe. That was my reaction when I heard about Six-Gun Gorilla: Long Days of Vengeance. I like gorillas and I like westerns, but the two coming together sounds preposterous. Imagine my surprise when I learned there were actually two Six-Gun Gorilla stories out there (long story, but it’s a public domain character). This one is from writer Brian Christgau with art by Adrian Sibar and lettering by David Sharpe. With the first two issues out, there’s only one question- should you take a crazy trip to the wild west with a sharpshooting gorilla?
The story centers around Kumba, a gorilla who was taken from his mother after a big game hunter put his mother in the crosshairs. The hunter lost the baby gorilla in a card game to a kindly gentleman with a young daughter. The man was the famed Professor Malloy of Professor Malloy’s Circus of Frontier Wonders. Kumba was raised as if he was the man’s own child. In fact the girl, Abby, thinks of Kumba as her brother. The gorilla is taught to read and how to use sign language, but his greatest skill is his abilities with some gigantic guns. He’s a sharpshooter with skill and panache that would put even Annie Oakley to shame. Life is good, but then the traveling show comes across a man being hunted by a rather despicable gang. They want the mysterious Italian stranger, but they won’t think twice about killing anyone that gets in their way. What happens when Kumba sets out on a path of vengeance? How does a gorilla even go about getting revenge?
Christgau writes a fantastic western. It’s a strong western story on its own, but he adds in a gigantic gorilla in a way that doesn’t feel like a gimmick. It makes sense, you care for the big ape, and more importantly you believe everything is really happening. Yes it’s wild, crazy, and borderline absurd when you think about the premise, but it has real weight and emotion. These first two issues are solid stories on their own, but it really whets your appetite for the future. Sibar’s art is a great fit for the series. It’s a style that has a slight cartoon feel, but it’s still realistic enough to sell the story being presented. It just feels like a western from the characters to the background and scenery. This is a well formed world that pulls you in from the first showdown of the first panel of the first issue. It’s hard work really nailing a main character that’s big and silent, but Sibar makes you care.
Bottom Line: Six-Gun Gorilla is a well-crafted western that just happens to have a gun-toting gorilla as the main character. If you like westerns, gorillas, crazy concepts, or just plain ol’ good comics, then this is one worth checking out. 4/5