Review by Ian Keogh
For only the second time in the series named after it, we learn of the Dark Tower, the bastion of good holding together all reality. It has six beams holding it firm, equivalent to ley lines perhaps, and in Fall of Gilead, one of those tethers was ruptured. It’s been so long since anyone from Gilead saw the Dark Tower that it’s considered a myth, but with his city destroyed and John Farson’s evil unchecked, Roland believes the truth of the myth is their best chance for a reversal of fortune.
It’s been established that Mid-World is littered with the technology of previous civilisations, and Farson’s made good use of scavenged tanks. His technicians work on other devices, and they’ve discovered something far deadlier. That’s in the ten years that have passed since the fall of Gilead. Roland and his fellow surviving gunslingers make guerilla raids and gather forces slowly, but have come no nearer to locating the Dark Tower, nor to ending Farson’s reign of terror.
Jae Lee returns as artist, and this looks the better for it, with his two spreads preceding the actual battle the most impressive. Over five books he and colour artist Richard Isanove have created an utterly distinctive look, and there’s plenty of process material in the back of the book explaining how, from sketched layouts to finished art.
Robin Furth’s plot jolts with a leap forward of ten years, and with an extreme lack of sentiment as she metes out what most have suspected will occur. Peter David again excels with the deliberately odd phrasing for the narrative captions, and with the dialogue. Just who is that narrator?
While there’s no doubting the overall quality of this series over five graphic novels, recommendation comes with a caveat. Their purpose is to chronicle Roland’s journey to manhood and his first meetings with characters critical to the Stephen King’s Dark Tower works. Anyone who’s read that will probably be happy enough with the filling in of what was unknown. Those following this through from the first graphic novel without that expectation might not be as pleased at the lack of any real resolution. Dark Tower graphic novels pick up with a new cycle in The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger – The Journey Begins.