Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born

by Stephen King, Peter David, Jae Lee and Richard Isanove

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Format: Hardcover, full color, $24.99

ISBN: 978-0-7851-2144-2

Reviewed by: Library Journal

King's dark epic in the Great Quest tradition evokes a parallel world Old West channeled through Arthurian magicks and mysteries: falconry and witches mix with a knightly order known as "gunslingers" and rusted Panzer tanks from another era. The epic spans seven novels drawing on themes from fantasy, sf, horror, and New Age, and the graphic version will present the tale in chronological order for the first time. In this initial volume, adapted from flashbacks in the novels, student-apprentice Roland Deschain earns his guns and with his friends sets off on a mission on behalf of the Alliance against enemy John Farson, who is ironically called "the Good Man." Along the way, he gains the trust and help of the beautiful Susan Delgado. But their budding love ends in ashes, and her death helps forge the steel-hard Gunslinger he is to become. Setting aside the questionable rhetorical value of destroying the hero's love interest seemingly just to re-create and harden him, this adaptation delivers a gorgeous package of story. The dry delivery animates the voiceovers and dialog, and the warm, compelling artwork has the hyperreality of dreamed color photographs. With artful violence, horror, and sexual themes; for older teens and up. —Martha Cornog