Saturday, July 10, 2010

Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born

Written by Peter David and Robin Furth
Art by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove

I have fond memories of reading Stephen King's first Dark Tower book back when I was a kid.  There was something about the way he approached the novel that really spoke to me.  Of course, at the time I was reading a lot of crappy Dragonlance novels, so it's no real surprise that a better writer would grab my attention.  The second book was okay, but I found the third hard to get through, and I was done.  I didn't really expect to be reading any Gunslinger stories again, and had no real interest in Marvel's mini-series when it came out, despite the fact that I have a lot of respect for both Peter David and Jae Lee.

Then, on Free Comic Book Day, I got a copy of the hardcover of the first series for free (thank you, Labyrinth), and figured it was worth giving it a go.  It's okay.

Really, that's about all there is to the book - I found it exceptionally mediocre.  David (with Furth, who is apparently an expert on all things Dark Tower) gives us a decent enough story about Roland and his friends, and their first mission.  The book starts with Roland challenging the guy who trains Gunslingers, so that he can become one.  He's mad that his mother is sleeping with his father's evil best friend (why is he so close to someone who is very obviously evil?  No clue), and figures that proving his manhood is the appropriate next step.

Anyway, he and his friends are sent to some town to count horses, but really they are there to spy on people to see if they are sided with The Good Man, who is also evil.  Roland falls for some girl who is promised to become a concubine to the Mayor, who works for the Good Man.  Stuff happens, although very slowly.

The problem with this book is that people basically just stand around posing for most of it.  It's a very static comic.  There is a lot of narration, but little in the way of actual events for long stretches, and it gets a little dull.  Jae Lee's art doesn't help in this area.  Lee is a great artist, and is able to fill his pages with atmosphere and foreboding, but things feel really stiff in this book.  Richard Isanove's colours look a little too digital here, like he was really intending to get his work noticed with this book, which is unfortunate, because a good colorist shouldn't really stand out.

I don't think I'll be looking to pick up the trades for the subsequent books of this series.

No comments: