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BOOK REVIEW by J.

dktgb_1Dark Tower Comic Books Series - Issue 1

Issue 1 of The Gunslinger Born tells the story of the boyhood of Roland Deschain, who of course will become the Gunslinger in the epic series. The beginning of the book is the first scene from the first Gunslinger novel, with a scene of a man fleeing across a desert, vultures tearing into a carcass, and the boots of the gunslinger crushing dried-up bones.

Jae Lee and Richard Isanove have captured the look of the gunslinger perfectly:  a young man going into middle age, carrying a water skin with his guns low on his hips, standing against a red desert backdrop with a vulture circling menacingly. However, it then flashes back to when the Gunslinger was just a boy, in the realm of Gilead, learning the falconing craft from a harsh taskmaster named Cort. We also get to meet his friends, Cuthbert Allgood and Alain Johns, who will become part of Rolandís ka-tet.

But in this issue, we see how Rolandís father, Steven, is in the power of Marten Broadcloak, a wizard who, unknown to all, has control over the leader of the gunslingers even though he is about to become the dinh of Gilead. When Marten reveals to Roland how heís sleeping with his mother Gabrielle, Roland becomes enraged and goes to challenge taskmaster Cort. His friends Cuthbert and Alain sense whatís happening and stand with him when he goes to fight Cort. Roland bests Cort by using his hawk against him, but loses his beloved bird in the fight.

Roland takes the key from Cort, which leads to a vault where the weapons of the gunslinger are kept. He does not take his fatherís guns yet, but the weapons of a first year apprentice. His mother sees him, and tries to talk with him, but Roland doesnít trust his mother nor Marten Broadcloak any longer. We next see Roland in bed with a prostitute, but a noise awakens him, and he draws his new weapons only to see them shot right out of his hand. He looks up to see his father staring down at him, guns drawn, and the words ďTo be continued...Ē at the bottom.

There is then a page on how the comic came to be. It turns out that Robin Furth, who wrote the awesome Dark Tower Concordance, collaborated on the comic along with Peter David, who wrote the story, and of course Stephen King himself. The next two pages are a map of the area of Gilead where the action is taking place (New Canaan), and then a six page essay on the geography of Mid-World, written in the viewpoint of a character named Vannay, a philosophy tutor teaching Roland, Alain, and Cuthbert. The book ends with four pages of art previews from the next issue.

The book is, quite simply, outstanding. The art is of the highest quality, and the story is engaging and effective in bringing you into the world of The Dark Tower. For people who wanted a glimpse into how the world looks and couldnít wait until the movie comes out (which is probably three or four years away, if that), this is a perfect introduction with the full approval and cooperation of Stephen King himself. An excellent start to the series.