The Merry Misandrist reviews Stephen King and Jae Lee's "The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born"
The graphic novel of "The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born" was not a good book. It was as if the gods of my reading list decided that throwing amazingly good graphic novels like the adaptation of Neil Gaimon's "The Graveyard Book" was just too much of a good time. I had to be brought down to Earth. So the truly crummy adaptation of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" found its way into my hands and boy was it bad. Hoo boy.
So this book talks about the birth of the Gunslinger. He was once a 14-year-old boy named Roland who lived in some Old West hellscape that is probably a post-apocalyptic Earth. Bits of our time remain, most notably guns. Mankind has forgotten how most machines work but some old six-shooters still remain and the man who wields these guns achieves the holy status of "Gunslinger."
The plot is overly-complicated so I'll keep it simple. Roland and his band of teenage boys represent the Alliance. They are hunted by an evil man named Marten Broadcloak and his bad of assassins. Broacloak has figured out how the ancient weapons of the old times (clearly rusty tanks) can be brought back to usefulness by refining oil into gasoline and using the gasoline to get the tanks moving again. Roland stops Broadcloak from taking over by luring Broadcloak's profoundly stupid assassins into a box canyon where the assassins are munched by an extra-dimensional tentacled nightmare called the "thinny."
This book is awful. It's narrated in an irrtating cross between Old West jargon and ersatz Tolkien. The dialogue is thudding and humorless. The characters are profoundly unlikeable. The various alliances are too complicated and frankly too uninteresting to figure out. The male characters are interchangeable and the women are either witches, bitches or virgins who must die in order to give the male hero purpose.
The bad writing all on Stephen King. The terrible illustrations, however, are not his fault. Jae Lee and Richard Isanove need to take the responsibility for that. Each setting and character is drenched in shadow. The landscape is soaked in inky black in order to spare the illustrator the laborous task of having to draw backgrounds. Everyone is in silhouette so that I couldn't tell who was talking. Is Roland talking now? One of Roland's four boy companions? Marten Broadcloak? Someone else? Roland's girlfriend had blond hair so I could recognize her. Going silhouette is a stylish way to avoid having to draw faces (which is difficult to do in graphic novels) but everyone is so shadowy I couldn't tell one character from another. There were so many cheap illustrator cheats in "The Gunslinger Born" that the book is just generally visually ugly and hurts the eyes.
Crummy book. Please avoid.
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