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Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #1

Posted: Tuesday, March 11, 2008
By: Shawn Hill

King, David & Furth
Jae Lee & Richard Isanove
Marvel Comics
Plot: Roland feels nothing but vengeance as Susan lies crispy in his arms, disregarding both friends and foes alike. Alain and Cuthbert canít help him, and the Hambry posse is hot on all their heels.

Comments: Having never read any version of Dark Tower, neither book nor the first comic series, Iíve got little idea whatís going on here in detail. However, some familiar patterns do emerge. The ka-tet amigos are transporting the vile Grapefruit of Maerlyn, desired by the ruthless John Farson, back to Gilead, at risk of their own lives and sanity.

Roland is the hero with the guns, but heís young and inexperienced, against crafty old foes intent on using him to their purposes. His stalwart friends try to aid him, but theyíre not on his level as far as dealing with threats or taking the shots aimed at him. They can only flee and hide, hoping for him to revive and take charge, when he is felled by the Grapefruit itself in a creepy sequence where it grows tendrils and attacks.

Itís all very Frodo and Sam, with Maerlyn as a possibly duplicitous Gandalf, and ďGood ManĒ Farson as probably very very bad indeed. Since itís Stephen King the pagan myths are stirred into the Christian ones, with cowboys and horses and rifles thrown in for good measure. Iím not sure if the story itself is enough to hook me any further (though that octopoid Grapefruit is fascinating), but the art is certainly worthy of continued attention.

Jae Lee has become a master of style who also delivers the solid meat of a story, and here while backgrounds are conveniently blurred masses of colorful fog, the principle players have such character and the expressions and details of costume and posture are more than enough to bring each figure to vivid life. Thereís a little bit of a sense of seeing a series of frozen tableaux, but the eerie stillness does befit the classic multi-genre hero quest, anchoring Kingís pastiche of sources into a convincing world of its own. The covers for this Marvel-produced corner of the Dark Tower mythos have all been memorable, and this second volume of tall tales seems poised to repeat the success of the first.



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