The Dark Tower. You’ve probably heard of them. The comics are based on the novels by Stephen King, and are “plotted by Robin Furth and scripted by Peter David” per the wiki entry. You may have heard the buzz about the new movie, which stars Idris Elba, which prefaces the upcoming series of the same star. That’s a lot going on for a book series that started in 1998, about 20 years ago. So far I have read the first complete arc of installments:
- The Dark Tower – The Gunslinger Born (240 pgs)
- The Dark Tower – The Long Road Home (160 pgs)
- The Dark Tower – Treachery (176 pgs)
- The Dark Tower – Fall of Gilead (208 pgs)
- The Dark Tower – Battle of Jericho Hill (144 pgs)
In the first book we get the first adventure of the young man Roland, and his two besties Bert and Alain, which make up a ka-tet, aka crew. We meet villains like Marten, Rhea, and the Big Coffin Hunters, and we hear about even more scary and notorious ones like John Farson and the Crimson King. Roland forgets the face of his father while he’s getting it on with his new honey, Susan. There’s some serious fighting over oil: one side wants it, the other doesn’t want them to have it. And don’t forget the super weird squid-tree-monster, called the thinny. The comics differ from the novels (I’ve been told) because they start his story chronologically, rather than looking back from “present day” with the older, more experienced Roland.
In book two Roland gets addicted to grapefruit, Sheemie shakes hands with electrocution, and a vicious pack of wolves threaten to eat Bert and Alain. B & A have to contend with Roland’s serious new sleep-walking problem, Sheemie very unexpectedly saves the day, and the Crimson King is the ugliest cousin. The ka-tet goes home to celebration because their town thought they were dead, and Roland is too weak to give up his grapefruit habit.
In book three the dads of the main characters go on a mission to thwart Farson. Lots of people die. There are several mentions of people having wives and infants or infants on the way. Aileen is the girl who wants to be treated like a boy, since, you know, sexism. She’s super badass (that’s her on the cover) and I’m rooting for her. There’s a super creepy nunnery where Roland’s mom is in deep trouble of her own making, Roland keeps getting haunted by Rhea and visions of his father’s future death until he decides to give up the grapefruit for good, and there’s a party with some dancing and riddles and killing. A spy is discovered, and Roland has some serious issues with famous last words.
Book four gets pretty brutal. Insidious traitors in the midst of Gilead’s greatest are everywhere, killing everyone, and then there’s a crazy war and basically everyone (else) dies. Kill the philosopher, kill the doctor, kill a pregnant lady’s unborn belly-kid, kill the faces of our fathers. This volume is not for the faint of stomach. There’s a poisoned book that wreaks havoc on Cort, Roland goes to jail, and Aileen (gods bless her) cuts her hair short to be one of the boys. Speaking of boys, a lot of the kids have to take up arms when the grown-ups are mostly slaughtered. A creature type is introduced, “slow mutants,” and I’m unsure if it means they move slowly or they’re slow in the head, but they’re icky looking. Oh yeah, and Sheemie sneaks into the city with his donkey and is reunited with Roland’s ka-tet.
Book four also marked a change in art style, one I didn’t prefer (eh, you can’t please everybody all the time). The first three books were done by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove working together; the fourth is Richard Isanove and Dean White. But I was in luck because book five is back to the first team.
The fifth and final book of this arc opens with a special earthquake called a beamquake, because it’s to do with the beams that originate from the tower. Roland and gang try to follow the tear in the earth back to the tower but now that the bad guys are in charge stuff like time and physics don’t work. They wander the wilderness for nine years (which is guess than 40, I guess) and they fight Farson’s forces as a small but determined resistance. Of course the band wouldn’t be complete without a traitor, which makes sense since the evil baddies are all about taking advantage of weaknesses like love and family and such. There’s an ambush and an attack and basically almost everybody dies, which we should’ve seen coming since it’s like 20 gunslingers vs. a kajillion baddies. Marten tries to play hide and seek with different skins but Roland’s dad didn’t raise no fool. Fin.
Here we go for reading challenge updates:
- PopSugar 2017 reading challenge I’ve assigned these as: No. 37 book that’s becoming a movie in 2017; No. 8 book with multiple authors; No. 30 book with pictures; No. 6 a book with one of the four seasons in the title (“fall”); and No. 12 a bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read (whether you count it as western for setting or horror for content, neither is my usual fare).
- Book Dragon’s Lair Audiobook challenge Nope.
- Book Dragon’s Lair Pages Read challenge These 928 pgs bring me to 10,868 pgs.
- Read It Again, Sam Nope, these are all new to me. Many friends have suggested the series for years. I figured comic books was better than nothing.
- My Reader’s Block Mount To Be Read (TBR) and Rock My TBR challenge Nope, I checked out books 1, 3, 4, and 5 from the library.
- Diverse Reads challenge (here and here). No, but I’ve started the book series that will fulfill that requirement.
- The Book Date Full House challenge Yes! These fall smack dab into the Western genre (or “weird west”).
- The Book Date Read the Books You Buy challenge Yes. Because I couldn’t find book 2 at the library I bought it as an ebook on Amazon so I didn’t have to wait.
- The Worm Hole’s What’s In A Name challenge Not yet, but the names of the comic books just get weirder, so possibly on the horizon.
- Anne Read Along No.
Hashtags for the challenges that had them:
Comic books and Stephen King. What more could you ask for?