Dark Tower Omnibus Slipcase Hardcover – Sep 21 2011
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About the Author
Peter David has had over fifty novels published, including Sir Apropos of Nothing and the sequel The Woad to Wuin, Knight Life, Howling Mad, and the Psi-Man adventure series. He is the co-creator and author of the bestselling Star Trek: New Frontier series for Pocket Books.
Peter's comic book resume includes an award-winning twelve-year run on The Incredible Hulk, and he has also worked on such varied and popular titles as Supergirl, Young Justice, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099, X-Factor, Star Trek, Wolverine, and many others.
Robin Furth is the personal research assistant to Stephen King and the author of Stephen King's The Dark Tower: A Complete Concordance, which was published by Scribner on December 5, 2006.
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Top Customer Reviews
I knew there were Dark Tower comic books and I decided to see if I can find a couple on amazon. I was surprised to find this and I am thankful I checked. I am happy with this purchase and it is a good addition to my book collection.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
**UPDATE** I returned my original damaged copy to Amazon and had a brand new perfect copy in my hands within 48 hours. Amazon even paid for Saturday delivery. Although once again Amazon did not provide any packing materials, the box was more form fitting to the books which limited them banging around. Hopefully Amazon will figure out these heavier books require special handling! Although it was a problem of their making, I do have to commend Amazon on quickly handing the problem.
Unfortunately Amazon decided to ship this 11 pound tome in a box with absolutely no padding whatsoever. The 2nd day air box showed up at the door with the seams splitting. The plastic wrap was rubbed through in places and the set's slipcover is crushed on all 8 corners and seriously scuffed. The books themselves only took damage on the spine. I can't imagine what shape this book is showing up in for deliveries via ground service.
Now you can't even return it to Amazon for a replacement.
For now I'll hold off on returning it to see if Amazon fixes the packaging and I can get an exchange, but if not I guess I'll just miss out on this one.
What a shame.
The contents of the first book are fairly straight forward; it contains all the material that was previously published in graphic novel form in the first five graphic novels that Marvel has released of the Dark Tower series: Gunslinger Born, Long Road Home, Treachery, Fall of Gilead, and the Battle of Jericho.
The second volume in the set collects all the material that has previously been left out of the graphic novel releases of the Dark Tower. Each of the original comics featured a chapter of the story and then a brief essay on Roland's world by Robin Furth. This volume collects these essays together for the first time. Also collected for the first time are the Gunslingers Guidebook, the End-World Almanac, the Guide to Gilead, Marvel Spotlight: Dark Tower, and the Dark Tower Sketch book. Added to this are more than a hundred pages of sketches with commentary.
Pros of the Collection: It has everything that was written, drawn, and published up to the end of Jericho Hill. It is beautifully bound and collected. The companion volume gives relatively easy access to material that would otherwise have required you to remove a comic from its bag and board to re-read. The companion volume will be completely new to any readers who didn't collect the series in comic book form but only collected the graphic novels.
Cons: This doesn't make for a very convenient way to re-read the comic books. Certainly, more convenient than removing a comic book from a bag and board but nowhere near the portability of the other graphic novel releases. The material in the companion volume makes for a fascinating read, but isn't essential for understanding the story and was probably ignored by many readers when originally released in comic book form. There is a table of contents page at the start of the companion volume; however, the pages of the volume aren't numbered which renders the page numbers in the table of contents rather point less.
For most readers, this volume probably won't be worth the investment. However, dedicated Dark Tower fans who live and breathe the series, can rest assured that this is a high quality product, that is very comprehensive. This volume will tempt the Constant Reader to send a pithy note to Marvel: Thankee-Sai!
Amazon seems to have listened to the reviewers here as they shipped mine completely wrapped in at least 6 feet of bubble wrap. I had a rather large order, consisting of 3 other hardcovers and two large metal dishes, and this was the only item in the box to be wrapped up. Sadly, the spine of the slipcase suffered some creasing. I can't fault Amazon as they obviously tried their best. This is simply too large, and heavy, of a book to be protected in today's means of shipping. My best advice would be to track this beast of beauty down in a retail store if you are looking for a mint copy. Then again, Amazon's price is hard to beat!
I was very happily surprised at what I found. This isn’t merely a comic book adaptation of “The Dark Tower” series of books. Although portions of it recount events seen in flashback in “The Gunslinger” and “Wizard and Glass,” most of it is new material. And it’s exactly what a hell of a lot of fans would want – chronicling Roland’s younger years, in which he and his closest friends train as Gunslingers, carry out their first quest, try in vain to prevent the fall of their kingdom and then meet their final fates at Jericho Hill. Also covered in great detail is the role of The Man in Black (known elsewhere as Randall Flagg, among other aliases) in the Fall of Gilead, as well as the destruction of Roland’s family and friends.
It’s a great book. I’d honestly recommend it to fans who have completed the series of prose novels, because much of the fun of those is the gradual exposition of Roland’s brutal childhood and the inception of his inter-dimensional quest. Much of that is rendered in detail here, which could ruin the narrative power of his tales and flashbacks throughout the books.
There are all sorts of treasures for people who fell in love with Mid-World, as I did in the early 1980’s. We see Steven Deschain and his contemporaries in action for the first time, in adventures that seem penned by King himself. (King was Executive Director of the project, while the story was adapted by Robin Furth and scripted by Peter David.) We see Flagg, known here as Marten Broadcloak, betray Roland’s father by seducing his mother, and the even greater tragedy that results. We see the Fall of Gilead and the Battle of Jericho Hill (even if they’re a little mishandled here). And, maybe best of all, we get to better know fellow young Gunslingers Cuthbert Allgood and Alain Johns as they fight alongside Roland – something only covered before in one book, “Wizard and Glass.”
The biggest surprise, however, is a DETAILED ORIGIN STORY FOR RANDALL FLAGG. Any King fan knows that Flagg’s nature and origin have been a mystery for decades – in all the various Stephen King novels in which he’s appeared. Here, we literally meet his parents and see him born, and are shown in greater detail his role in The Crimson King’s planned destruction of the infinite multiverse.
The art by Jae Lee is simply amazing – it’s some of the best I’ve ever seen in comics. All of the characters – except Flagg, regrettably – are portrayed how a reader might have easily envisioned them. Roland has a great look, and the characters of Susan and Aileen are beautiful. Lee makes great use of color, large panels and sweeping vistas that bring Mid-World to eerie, dreamlike life. Lee’s most fearsome portrayal is John Farson, aka The Good Man, shown here battling the forces of light in black armor and blood-red mask, astride a giant black steed. The art was just perfect.
The stories are generally good. The horror elements we’d hope for are all there, and there are countless moments that enrich the pre-existing books for us – often courtesy of Lee’s amazing talent.
Roland is mostly consistent with the character we love; Cuthbert and Alain are pitch-perfect and incredibly likable. This book was enhanced in many, many ways by featuring characters that were spot on and mostly what we would expect. Peter David is well known as a humorous comic book writer (he could have been a disastrous choice for this material), but he does very well. There were one or two moments that were awful attempts at unnecessary levity (they can’t start the quest because Sheemie has to “pee?”) But David’s talent for dialogue pays off extremely well with the banter between Cuthbert and Alain.
Farson, referred to only obliquely in the prose books, is terrifying. A terrific new character is Aileen, Cort’s niece, who is the first female Gunslinger (presumably created by Furth?). I wound up wishing she was included in the novels.
But the biggest character improvement was The Crimson King. Fans of the series have lamented the fact King’s arch enemy of the universe fell flat in “The Dark Tower,” the last book of the series. Even someone like me, who loved the books, can concede that. He’s different here – finally changed by Furth, David and Lee into a truly frightening enemy. He’s both better written and gorgeously illustrated. Here, “The Dark Tower Omnibus” actually improves on its source material.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Randall Flagg. I felt his characterization here was way off. He resembles little of the Flagg that we know and loathe from “The Stand” and other books. He doesn’t seem terribly much like “The Man in Black” introduced in “The Gunslinger.” Instead, he sometimes seems like a mere stock character – the cartoonish evil magician. He even has what sometimes resembles a handlebar mustache! I was surprised that the creative team here excelled everywhere else, yet fumbled the ball with this extremely unique and popular character.
There were other aspects of the stories here that may have been less than perfect. I was surprised at how little the writers sought to exploit comic books as a medium. The stories are extremely dialogue-heavy for a comic series. The entire series seems to have missed opportunities to show the incredibly varied monster, mutants, cyborgs and demons of Stephen King’s dangerous, Kafkaesque universe.
There were also at least two anticlimaxes. We’re given tremendous foreshadowing and tension building up to The Fall of Gilead. Then … we’re shown it in only a few pages. After countless pages of conversations about how to wage the battle, the battle itself is … hardly shown. I wonder if some sort of mistake was made in the editorial process. Did they deliberately try to avoid showing too much action? The Battle of Jericho Hill is also seen as an incidental standoff after Farson surprises Roland’s forces, with little other relevance to the destruction of Mid-World or the planned destruction of The Dark Tower.
The second volume in the set is a wealth of supplementary information, mostly penned by Furth, composed as addendums to the comic stories when they were originally published. It almost seems like “The Dark Tower” series’ equivalent of Tolkien’s “Silmarillion,” with a broad and interesting spectrum of biographies, vignettes, maps, history and theology that make up not just Mid-World, but also the god and the demons who gave rise to The Tower and its parallel universes. All sorts of questions are answered here comprehensively – not the least of which is where and how Flagg came to be. There are even classifications of the mutants, cyborgs and robots with which Roland and his Ka-Tet tangled throughout the books. Mixed with those are tons of additional art, as well as interviews with the creators.
Again, this was a fantastic set, and a sheer treasure for any fan of the book series.