Review by Ian Keogh
In Stephen King’s Dark Tower novels Roland Deschain is the Gunslinger, a deadly adventurer on a mission. The primary object of Marvel’s initial Dark Tower graphic novels is to detail the journey Roland took from the age of fourteen to become that man. In The Long Road Home he learned of the Crimson King, and of the forces arrayed against his home city of Gilead. He’s now back there.
Artist Jae Lee and colour artist Richard Isanove deliberately contrast the darkness of the previous books by applying a bright and expansive tone to the opening chapter, presenting an idyllic looking community. Lee’s art has been extraordinary to this point, and he tops himself here. Now that we’re used to his spiky, shadowy settings, in the middle section he illustrates a graveyard, complete with inset panels of individual statues and a fantastic full page of another statue, this a weeping mother. There are also some impressive Western landscapes. The best of these are presented again in black and white in the back of the book.
Lee may provide an idyllic look, but it’s one concealing the petty jealousies and rivalries of all towns. For their heroics and experience in accompanying Roland home, Alain and Bert are promoted to full gunslingers, an award their jealous fellow trainees consider unearned. Roland has problems of his own. He returned with a sphere that connects with the world of the Crimson King, in effect Satan, and in the manner of Frodo with the ring, remains within his room compulsively consorting with danger. So, who’s that woman with a gun on the cover, and what part does she play? She’s Aileen Cort, a sharpshooter as good as any being trained, and many have earmarked her for Roland, but is this what either wants?
Robin Furth’s plot for Treachery at first seems too tame considering what’s come before, but it’s deceptive, and while seeming to ignore Roland, he again takes centre stage from the midway point. His experiences have transformed him, and now fifteen he’s already the brooding and obsessed personality of King’s books, but still a man with friends. This is excellently conveyed by Peter David’s dialogue, as is much else. This is some fantastic writing, and that also applies to Furth, whose plot leads us down a dark alley, tantalises with light, then takes a last minute turn into further darkness. Fall of Gilead is next.
Once again there’s plenty of bonus material, including an interview with Furth and much background information about Mid-World and its customs.