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Customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
9
3.9 out of 5 stars


HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 August 2011
Gilead is in ruins, and all the gunslingers but one are dead. "Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, Vol. 1 - The Journey Begins" launches Roland Deschain on his lifelong quest to find the Dark Tower and avenge his people. It's a haunting, bloodspattered story graced by solid artwork, and a lingering sense of tragedy.

Several years after the last round of comics, Roland stops at the home of a young hermit and his pet raven. Over dinner, Roland recounts what happened after Farson's men killed his people -- he carried the dying Aileen back to Gilead, and finds his onetime home haunted by treacherous ghosts, horrible memories... and oh yeah, grotesque Slow Mutants.

So he sets out on a quest to find John Farson, and ends up wandering into a nearby town with a faithful billy-bumbler. And since he's Roland Deschain, trouble finds him -- he's barely met the EXACT DOPPELGANGER of his dead girlfriend Susan than a bunch of Not-Men kidnap her to turn her into one of them.

The brilliance of "Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, Vol. 1 - The Journey Begins" is that it taps into one of the most primal, terrifying human fears -- that our family, friends and home will all be destroyed, leaving us alive but devastated. And though the entire story is told in flashback by a grizzled, hardened Roland, it doesn't lessen its soul-wrenching power.

And Robin Furth handles the story in a way that is tragic without being melodramatic -- it's splattered with blood, darkness and chaos, and there are some truly tragic scenes where Roland loses even more loved ones in his journey (NOOOOOO! BILLY-BUMBLER!). Roland's farewell speeches to those loved ones are gut-wrenchingly raw, yet very beautiful.

The only major flaw in the story is the introduction of Susan Delgado 2.0. It's handled nicely, with Roland being given a "second chance" if he abandons his quest, but it feels contrived.

And we see two different Rolands in this story. One is a grizzled, hardened survivor who has moved on, with all his wounds healed. And the other is a young boy who has just become a man, with raw emotional wounds and a fear of getting too close to other people. Aileen is given a powerful exit from the story, and... BILLY-BUMBLER! Such a sweet innocent unselfish creature.

"Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, Vol. 1 - The Journey Begins" is both an ending and a beginning. Gilead has ended, but the Gunslinger's quest has begun.
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on 16 February 2011
This book was a real let down. And I don't expect much of these graphic novels. I don't expect an eighth book. I want added fluff, more padding, some back story. That... or maybe a more literal graphical interpretation of the existing books. I believe the previous 5 entries to the series, existing in the first category, really added something to the overall world. I wasn't a fan of the art, but I liked the artist's interpretation. The writing wasn't as good as the original, but also didn't really stand in the way of my enjoyment. In all it was a nice revisiting of the world King created, adding something new, giving a different take.

This book adds nothing; if anything it lowers the bar significantly. Maybe it's me, but the art isn't as good (or maybe just not as fresh to me). There's no consistency; for instance Roland looks younger from one image to the next. And I don't like this take on Roland (but that's just taste I guess). I found the writing horrible: the dialog as well as the story. This isn't King and it shows (a lot more than the previous ones). It starts off the same as 'the Gunslinger' and gives us a look at the story of Hax. So I thought it would fall in the second category, but then it trails off in a memory told by Roland. (At first I thought it was the story of Tull, but it's a different one. It's been awhile so maybe I'm mistaken.) I just can't stress enough how this just doesn't add anything. That means it just slows the pacing of the entire series. You can flesh out the universe, and do a good job of giving us something new, some depth. Otherwise just take what exists and make an interpretation. Both would be fine, great even. This just tells us what we already know without Steven King's touch.

I love The Dark Tower series, and I'll probably buy anything in it, being a little bit of a completionist. But it's painful having to put this next to the other entries. I really hope this series picks itself up.

If this reviewer gives you doubt; it's someone who didn't really like the tale of the `little sisters of Eluria' and also didn't really like the sixth book (Song of Susannah).
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on 19 March 2011
For some reason I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this one as much as I had done everything in the series (both books and graphic novels) so far, but I am really glad I decided to buy it. I don't think it adds quite as much to the overall story as some of the previous graphic novels have, and I agree the artwork does not seem as good (although I am no expert), but it is definitely still a brilliant read for fans of the series.

Now I can't wait for the next graphic novel... (or The Wind Through the Keyhole!!!!)

Long days and pleasant nights!
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VINE VOICEon 27 July 2013
The dark tower series is a series of cliffhangers. With no real direction and a scanty outline Stephen can not paint himself into a corner. As with any dream (nightmare) you just change the rules if you get stuck with some logic. And this is what it is, just one long dream. It has all the elements of Stephen King including his potty mouth.

Do not try to compare this loosely jointed series of encounters with works such as of J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Jordan, and George Lucas, as they have no resemblance to the Joseph Campbell myth of someone challenged to become more than they are. This animal is in its own purely fantasy (don't look for depth) project. I say project because it is ongoing with out a clear stopping point in mind. If you look at it this way then it can be a "five star" in its category.

"The Gunslinger" is over before it gets started no time to form an opinion.
"The Drawing of the Three" twice as long as the previous, leaves you with a dislike for lobster.
"The Waste Lands" twice as long as the previous, leave you with a dislike for Amtrak.
By now you have no opinion, dislike eating lobster on Amtrak, and can not wait for the next installment (Wizard and glass.)
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on 14 May 2011
I must admit I thought this was going to be the start of the main Dark Tower series but that didn't cloud my judgement on this book. I found it to be a bit of a mess both plotwise and artwork wise. The story jumps all over the place with very little reason behind it & Roland is badly & differently drawn throughout. A bad start to this new series of Dark Tower graphic novels.
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on 14 April 2013
An interesting read, for a big dark tower fan such as myself. However, it was too short, and seemed like just a bit of filler really... Didn't have anything to do with the main storyline!
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on 3 August 2015
Brilliant start to a new chapter of The Dark Tower story.
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on 9 November 2015
Came in excellent condition!
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on 8 September 2016
Bought this in hard cover, arrived a day late but hey-ho.
As per usual for this series the artwork is fantastic, and the writing style goes hand in hand with that of the novels. I enjoyed the fact that more of Roland's journey is explored and expanded, such as the encounter with the Not-Men and slow mutants.
The only reason it didn't get 5 stars is - for me - Jae Lee's (Gunslinger Born - Battle of Jericho Hill) illustration style is more evocative of the dark nature of the books.
All in all though a great addition to the collection!
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