Issue by Issue – The Gunhawks #6

Writer – Gary Friedrich
Artist – Dick Ayers
Inker – Vince Colletta
Colours – Ben Hunt
Letters – Shelly Leferman

Readers had to know that after Kid Cassidy knocked his friend Reno, who was like a brother to him, unconscious in order to protect Rachel’s secret, that there would be hell to pay. That is exactly what happens when Reno wakes up and he is more than a little mad at the man he calls friend. He blames Cassidy for letting her go, for essentially making the last few months of hardship mean nothing and while Cassidy apologises, it is no enough for Reno. Unbeknownst to the two of them, Grey Fox hides in the forest, looking to shoot down the soldier who stands with the men and so when Reno draws on Cassidy, so too does Grey Fox fire at the soldier. At the end of it all is tragedy and Cassidy lies dead, Reno thinking himself to blame when it was Grey Fox who killed the man and it is to Gary Friedrich and Dick Ayers’ credit that readers would never have guessed that this was going to happen in the first place. Killing off a leading character is a bold move as it leaves some potential readers in the cold as everyone has a favourite and no doubt, there are some people who loved Cassidy. As it is, Reno is distraught and is about to be arrested for Cassidy’s murder even though he swears he swung wide just in time. Grey Fox meanwhile laughs while Rachel cries because while he was aiming for the soldier, Rachel wanted to stop Grey Fox from killing the man and instead altered his aim so that Cassidy was hit instead. All of it surprisingly, ends up in her lap and the guilt she feels is great for not only has she killed a friend, but more than likely lost the man she loves forever. As events play out and Ayers draws them beautifully and the book ends off with Reno Jones and Grey Fox battling it out, one man wanting to know where Rachel is and the other refusing to give her location and dying with it in his heart. Altogether, this was a very dramatic and tragic tale, one that saw no winners on any side and with Kid Cassidy dead; it now remains to be seen as to what Reno will do without him. Aside from the lead feature, there is a second that sees a former gunslinger looking to secure a bank loan in order to buy drilling equipment for his farm. The bank thinks he is a risk, what with his past and where his farm is and so they refuse him. When some bandits ride in and look to rob the bank, the cowboy takes them out, protecting the bank and its townspeople with the former reconsidering their position and it all makes for a happy ending. Two stories that could not be more different make this issue of The Gunhawks a great read, though leaves readers wanting more.

4 out of 5

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