Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Dark Tower - The Gunslinger Born/The Long Road Home

I was looking forward to The Dark Tower graphic novel series. The original books are quite good (The Gunslinger is a little dry for me but had some great passages). This story is right out of Wizard and Glass when Roland tells his ka-tet about his beginning as a gunslinger and his great love Susan Delgado. This is that story. If you have read Wizard and Glass then there will be no surprise. However, the pictures are worth the time to re-read the story. This graphic novel gives Roland's story more depth and humanity.
For those not familiar with the Dark Tower books, this story is about an ambitious 14 year old boy, Roland Dechain. He is training to be a gunslinger. In this world, time has passed and reverted to a strange time of kingdoms where knights are gunslingers. Relics of the old world include tanks and oil fields. There is a great war going on between the Affiliation and John Farson. John Farson is a great and evil man who appears to be a tool for the Crimson King. Through this story, all this is hinted at. You learn about John Farson but the real story behind the war is fairly muttled.
Roland is goated into testing to be a gunslinger by his mother's lover. Her lover is no other than the Man in Black who will be Roland's nemesis through the entire series. The plan was that Roland would be killed or exiled, allowing the bad guys to have one up on the good guys. Instead Roland is successful, so much so that his father worries he will be killed and sends him and his friends on an errand to count horses in a neighboring kingdom. This is not a fools errand but is suppose to be seen as such - the boys are there to see if John Farson is tapping into the oilfield there.
It's a good introduction into this world. It's quite different from the books which start sort of in the middle and work both ways. The graphic novels are suppose to be the back story that is only hinted at.
This story is continued in The Long Road Home. I found myself struggling to remember this story only to find that this part of the tale was never told in the books. I like this. As I said these novels are the back story (I didn't know that until I read the second book and the really interesting commentary from those involved). These back stories can only add depth to an already deep character. Roland comes across as heartless in the books only to surprise the reader with his compassion. These graphic novels will tell the reader why Roland is so hard and how he came to be on the journey he is on.

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