Stephen King's The Dark Tower: Beginnings Omnibus

Image of Stephen King's The Dark Tower: Beginnings Omnibus
Release Date: 
September 26, 2023
Gallery 13
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“This odyssey is for King fans everywhere, a richly drawn and written story that draws the reader deeper and deeper into King’s fevered imagination . . .”

Steven King’s grand opus, The Dark Tower series, premiered in the ’80’s with The Gunslinger, a limited-edition hardback illustrated by Sci-Fi Hall of Famer Michael Whelan. Only 1000 were printed, followed by another thousand. The demand was such that it was followed up by The Drawing of the Three. Four more were added much later on to round out the series of seven, the first three of which wowed King fans everywhere (the last four ranged from good to downright silly). Still, they are considered by many as his greatest works.

Fans wanted more of the enigmatic Mid-World and the fabled society of gunslingers of Gilead that so inspired them. They especially wanted to learn more about Roland, the protagonist of the series, and the evil sorcerer Marten, the Man in Black. What was the city of Gilead, how did the story of Roland begin and what was Marten’s role in Gilead’s downfall?

King’s graphic novel, The Dark Tower: Beginnings Omnibus (previously published as many, smaller graphic novels), answers many of the questions that fans wanted. Young Roland, an apprentice gunslinger, defeats his teacher Cort in battle to earn his rank of a true gunslinger and this catapults him on a journey. With his friends Alain and Cuthbert, he is given a mission by his father and the leader of Gilead, Steven. Their mission, scout the small towns of Mid-World to find out how far the evil Farson (called The Good Man) is from Gilead.

Farson is on a quest to destroy the people and cities of Mid-World, and he has so far succeeded, sacking city after city, barony after barony. He is aided by the sorcerer Marten, also called Walter O’Dim, the Walking Dude, and The Man in Black. This particular character has been central to many of King’s works, most notably The Stand.

Roland, Alain, and Cuthbert find treachery, magic, love, and horror on their mission across Mid-World, culminating in the death of Steven, Roland’s adulteress mother (Marten’s lover), and the sack of Gilead. It is the beginning of Roland’s grand journey that will finally culminate in his last book of the series, The Dark Tower, the rather cryptic ending of the series that had readers clamoring for more.

Beautifully illustrated by Sean Phillips, Luke Ross, Michael Lark, Laurence Campbell, Alex Maleev, and Richard Isanove and written by King, Peter David, Robin Furth, it is a sumptuous, frenetic journey through the world of the gunslingers. It brings to life the culture of Mid-World, a mixture of Wild West folklore and medieval England. The characters are three-dimensional (though some are far less so), likeable (or in Marten’s case, hated) and add a dash of unique mythology that the book series unfortunately lacks.

Though some questions are left unanswered, there is enough here to satisfy most, if only for the gorgeous illustrations and the quaint, artful narration.

This odyssey is for King fans everywhere, a richly drawn and written story that draws the reader deeper and deeper into King’s fevered imagination, culminating in a satisfying prelude to his opus.

In many ways, this work surpasses the last four books of the series, a grim and thrilling addition for any King fan.