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GRAPHIC CONTENT PICK OF THE WEEK: Lonmonster – ‘Dark Tower: The Gunslinger – The Battle of Tull’ #2

Since the very first issue was released as a prequel to Stephen King’s legendary series, fans and critics have not been able to praise the Dark Tower comics enough. Although nobody thought it was possible to capture King’s elegant suspenseful writing, the creative team behind the Dark Tower comics has managed not only to live up to the novels, but surpass what anyone thought was possible. Very few books out there today are able to maintain the same grace and poise as the Dark Tower. The creative team behind the series somehow manages to pull off suspenseful storylines arc after arc, never failing to add something new to the melting pot. Peter David’s writing, especially the narration, is so eerie, and so perfectly post-apocalyptic that it seems to dissolve into the darkness of the illustrations themselves. The combination of western, fantasy, and horror, is not something you are likely to find anywhere else on the shelves today (well maybe in King’s books). Read on for the skinny…

WRITTEN BY: Peter David and Robin Furth
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Michael Lark

“In the desert town called Tull, gunslinger Roland Deschain finally encounters one of the men present at the years-ago death of his first love Susan Delgado. But he may have little time for revenge as his strange quarry, the Man in Black has also come to Tull. He has come to perform wonders-dark and deadly wonders. The first of which is the horrifying resurrection of town drunk Nort through a mystic ritual not meant for human eyes. Why the resurrection of this man and why now is a burning question whose answer could mean certain doom for Roland, last member of the House of Eld.”

Everyone expected the Dark Tower comic series to come to a close once it reached the end of the Battle of Jericho Hill. Suffice it to say, it came as a great surprise when Marvel announced that the Dark Tower series would continue, leading further into Stephen King’s novel franchise. However, now that the comics are no longer prequel material, what new elements can Furth and David bring to the story to keep readers intrigued? It’s obvious that the plot borrows much from the novels (or else fans would be pissed), but where it strays is where it works best. The new books work to maintain the focus on the solemnness of Roland Deschain as he grows into his role as the last gunslinger. While you’ll see familiar events from the novels, don’t expect to know exactly what happens before you turn the corner (or page).

There’s so much I have to praise about this book, but I’ll try not to go on for too long. Let’s start with the writing. The story is plotted by Robin Furth and scripted by Peter David. For those who don’t know, Furth is King’s research assistant and helped out with much of the Dark Tower novels. The storyline throughout the entire comic series has been nothing less than superb the entire way through. As for Peter David…he’s effin’ unbelievable. There’s very little dialogue between characters in the Dark Tower, which makes for a true wasteland feel. The sparseness of text on the pages causes a lot of uneasiness as you see Roland wander across the desert. But where David’s writing really stands out is the narration. The narration acts as an accompaniment to Roland’s quest, as if looking back on the sum of events. What’s so potent about the narration is that you can picture exactly what the narrator looks like; a weathered old man, with skin like leather, chewing tobacco as he rocks gently in his chair. You can almost hear him whispering into your ear as you read (I promise it’s not as creepy as it sounds).

On top of the wonderful script, every issue is prefaced by a summary of previous events (I absolutely hate when books don’t give summaries). But, It doesn’t end here my friends. At the end of each installment, Furth provides a story or article about something in the world of the Dark Tower that you’ve probably been wondering about. These little stories range from the wonders of the magical grapefruit, to detailed histories of Roland’s guns (which are unbelievably wicked). Every story offers insight into the rich saga of the Dark Tower and really allows you to see how much the writers care about their work.

As for art, I’m going to be completely honest, when Jae Lee left the team I was quite upset. Jae Lee captured the precise mood of Roland’s world, his dark settings and heavily shaded faces really brought out the spooky parts of the story. That said, I was pleasantly surprised at how well Michael Lark has done taking over pencils for the series. The art is by no means worse, or less fitting, and has grown on me a considerable amount.

In case you couldn’t already tell, this book pretty much makes me pee my pants every time I read a new issue because of how obsessed I am with it. There are many days when I wish I were a cowboy gunslinging in a world full of magic grapefruits, mysterious men in black, and grotesque mutants (though I imagine it’s not as pretty as it looks). This is one series that you and all your “ka-tet” should read from start to finish.

“Dark Tower: The Gunslinger – The Battle of Tull” issue #2 Drops Wednesday, July 6th From Marvel Comics! (MSRP – $3.99)