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Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #5

Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2008
By: Erik Norris

Peter David, Robin Furth
Jae Lee, Richard Isanove
Marvel Comics
The fifth and final issue of Long Road Home wraps the tiring journey home to Gilead for Roland and his ka-tet. However, for a final issue to a mini-series there are a lot of lingering questions for readers to chew on while they wait for September and the start of the third Dark Tower series. After turning the final page of this issue I wondered why they didnít just make the Dark Tower series an ongoing comic. I understand the workload that would be put on the creative teamís shoulders if this were the case, but this story follows the same story structure of an ongoing series, not standalone mini-series. Truth be told, I picked up the first mini, The Gunslinger Born, once it was in hardcover format and while it wrapped on a cliffhanger leading directly into The Long Road Home, the narrative of that mini has a distinct beginning, middle, and end. It was the journey of Roland evolving from a boy to a broken down man, much like the moral of Y: The Last Man, only in far fewer pages. However, with The Long Road Home, I canít see this story being great on its own, once collected. Itís essential to know Gunslinger Born going into it, and doesnít begin to wrap up anything once the final page is turned, leaving readers no reason to acknowledge its existence.

The subplot of Sheemie seems to only exist as a deus ex machina to get Roland out of the mystical grapefruit, away from an angry Crimson King, so he can be back home in Gilead within the following few pages. Farson and his gang, who were chasing Roland, never appear in the final chapter of The Long Road Home, instead swept under the rug with a convenient explanation for the lack of confrontation during the closing narration. Everything just seemed to wrap up a lot faster than I had hoped. I think another issue or two to really play these plots out to their conclusions would have been a good idea instead of leaving readers with absolutely no answers and a two month hiatus between series.

However, you can always count on this book to deliver fantastic visuals coupled with strong dialogue and narration. Even with his static imagery, Jae Lee continues to impress. Every image has a surreal feel to it making the whole book seem like a crazy nightmare, tonally fitting for the scripts. Speaking of writing, Peter David once again brings his A-game to Mid-World with creatively written narrations helping guide readers through the plot of the story. Davidís dialogue is also no slouch, the strongest example of dialogue coming from the Crimson Kingís speech to Roland about how Mid-World use to be, how it should be, once again. It was expertly written and even though I knew Roland wouldnít take his offer, it was still a convincing argument from a man thatís half spider.

So why the 4 bullet rating? Well, when thinking back on the issue the only real complaint I have is that no plot threads are tied up. But being an avid reader of regular monthly on-goings, this doesnít really bother me, Iíve grown accustomed. Itís almost like Iím pretending the cover of the issue doesnít say, "Limited series: 5 of 5,Ē but instead is just another issue in the continuing adventures of Mid-World. So if youíre in the same boat as me, issue #5 of The Long Road Home will seem like a welcome addition to the Dark Tower lore. For trade waiter, it sucks to be you. Let this be a lesson that you should support the industry and pick up monthlies. Plus the Dark Tower floppies come with extra content the trades wonít have.



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