The Dark Tower: Treachery

The Dark Tower: Treachery is a monthly, six-issue comic book mini-series, a prequel spin-off of Stephen King’s sci-fi western novel series The Dark Tower, the first issue of which was published September 10, 2008. It is the third of five such miniseries based on those novels, following the 2007 mini-series The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born and the 2008 mini-series The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home. The series is written and illustrated by the same creative team as The Gunslinger Born and The Long Road Home, which includes writers Robin Furth and Peter David, and illustrators Jae Lee and Richard Isanove. Whereas The Gunslinger Born was largely based on the events of The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass, Treachery, like The Long Road Home, consists mostly of new material not found in any of the novels.

The story depicts The ka-tet of Roland Deschain, Alain Johns and Cuthbert Allgood dealing with the events following their return to Gilead from Hambry, including the toll that Maerlyn’s Grapefruit has taken on Roland’s health, his obsessive desire to continue peering into its depths, and the search for John Farson and the Big Coffin Hunters.

Publication dates

  • Issue #1: September 10, 2008
  • Issue #2: October 8, 2008
  • Issue #3: November 12, 2008
  • Issue #4: December 24, 2008
  • Issue #5: January 28, 2009
  • Issue #6: February 25, 2009

Dark Tower: Treachery (Hardcover)

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A momentous celebration is held in Gilead following the return of Roland Deschain, Alain Johns and Cuthbert Allgood from their successful mission in Hambry. Alain and Cuthbert are praised by Roland’s father, Steven Deschain, the lord of Gilead, for accomplishing their mission, and are recognized as gunslingers. The two gunslingers, however, are worried about Roland, who is still obsessed with Maerlyn’s Grapefruit, the mysterious seeing sphere that Roland acquired during their mission. They are conflicted over their decision to remain loyal to him by keeping his addiction to it a secret, rather than forcing Roland to turn it over to his father. Roland is also troubled by the Grapefruit, through which he is still taunted by the Crimson King.

A posse that includes the trio’s fathers heads out on a mission to thwart John Farson. They come across a group of Farson’s men whose loyalty to Farson is wavering. They are ambushed by the posse, and although most are killed, one is able to detonate a grenade. The explosion is observed at a distance by another Farson deserter, who is turn killed by one of Farson’s lieutenants. Charles Champignon, who shielded Steven from the grenade, is badly wounded. Steven applies the gunpowder from a bullet to his wound and ignites it, cauterizing the wound. They resolve to get Charles home to more proper medical attention before his pregnant wife gives birth.

In Gilead, Aileen Ritter, the niece of the gunslinger trainer Cort, laments how she is excluded from becoming a gunslinger because she is female. Cort wants to betroth her to Roland Deschain, but she would rather die than marry. She steals revolvers from Cort’s armory to practice with them. When she joins the boys, Cuthbert dismisses her, but she gets the best of him by putting a bullet through his gun belt as he holds it in his hand. Cort is upset with Aileen for stealing from the armory, and for eschewing the traditional role of females with her gunslinger aspirations, but observes that she is just like her late mother, and resolves that she will choose her own path.

At a nunnery in Debaria called Our Lady of the Rose, Gabrielle Deschain attempts to atone for her infidelity to Steven with Marten Broadcloak, but Marten himself appears, and insists that he is the only one who loves and understands her. He convinces her to murder Steven, and makes her the false promise her that her son, Roland, will be unharmed. At the same time, Steven and his men attempt to strategize how to outflank John Farson, but Justus, their chief source of information on Farson’s movements, is actually a spy in Farson’s employ.

Within the Grapefruit, Roland sees a vision of Rhea of the Cöos, the witch behind Susan Delgado’s death, arriving in Gilead, and murdering his father. Alain and Cuthbert manage to convince Roland to relinquish the Grapefruit to his father, which Roland does, apologizing to Steven for not doing so upon his return to Gilead. Steven is understanding of Roland’s sin, due to the nefarious effect that the Grapefruit has on its victims, and tells Roland he will atone for his actions by showing forgiveness to his mother at the upcoming banquet. Roland begrudgingly agrees. Steven, rather than allowing the Grapefruit to seduce him as it did Roland, hides it in a safe, an act that is secretly observed by Justus, who informs Farson of this.

Alain and Cuthbert, observing that new gunslingers typically are seated next to the prospective brides selected by their fathers, ponder whether Roland will be seated next to Aileen at the upcoming banquet, but Roland, who is still mourning Susan Delgado, has no interest in the issue. Meanwhile, Gabrielle meets with Justus and Kingson, Farson’s nephew, who works as a musician. They give her a dagger coated with a deadly poison with which she is to kill Steven, and instruct her to procure the key to the safe in which Steven placed the Grapefruit.

In Gilead, Abel Vannay the Wise, the gunslingers’ philosophy teacher, crafts riddles for a competition at the upcoming banquet. Cort looks forward to the challenge, but both are interrupted by Kingson, who seeks to participate in the competition himself. Kingson later switches out Vannay’s bag of riddles for his own, but his treachery is secretly witnessed by Cort.

At the banquet, Steven presents the three new gunslingers, and presents to his son the guns of Eld, which previously served Steven himself. Roland and Aileen share a dance, and later, a personal conversation outside, but when she kisses him, Roland pulls away, still mourning Susan. Kingson squares off against Cort in a competition of riddles, and appears to win the competition, but Cort accuses him of substituting Vannay’s scrolls with ones that Kingson himself copied from older texts with poorly thought out, incorrect answers. Cort stabs him to death, and finds a signet ring on him, marking him as one of Farson’s spies. Roland finds the Grapefruit missing from his father’s vault, and then finds it in his mother’s chambers. Gazing into it, he sees a reflection of Rhea of the Coos, approaching him from behind with a garrot. He turns and shoots the woman in the chest, but it turns out to be his mother, Gabrielle, holding a belt with Roland’s name stitched into it that she was planning to leave him as a gift. Her last words before she expires are “Roland, I…I love thee..”

Related releases

On February 11, 2009, Marvel released the The Dark Tower: Guide to Gilead written by Anthony Flamini and Robin Furth. The handbook serves as a guide to the City of Gilead, featuring original art by David Yardin on subjects such as Buffalo Star, the Queen o’ Green Days, Lord Perth, the Blue-Faced Barbarians, and the Kuvian Night Soldiers.

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