The Dark Tower, Volume 2: The Long Road Home

The Dark Tower, Volume 2: The Long Road Home - Peter David, Stephen King, Richard Ianove, Jae Lee, Robin Furth The Long Road Home continues the story of Roland's youth immediately where The Gunslinger Born finished, after the murder of Roland's first and only true love Susan Delgado the three friends Cuthbert, Alain and Roland must make the dangerous journey back to Gilead while being pursued by the remnants of the Big Coffin Hunters.
Roland looks into the mysterious orb known as Maerlyn's Grapefruit and his soul is wrenched away leaving him unconscious and unable to contribute as they flee home.
The story then becomes more compelling as it focuses on Cuthbert and Alain as they are forced to get Roland's body through the perilous and harsh terrain.
Roland's relationship to the Crimson King is explored as more of a side story and his salvation lies in the unwitting and unlikely form of Sheemie who meets a freakish robot and is changed into something with new abilities.
The artwork is nothing short of sensational, the haze of the landscape and the characters are captured perfectly but what stood out for me was the more central roles occupied by the people surrounding Roland. Cuthbert and Alain's relationship and their devotion to Roland is a strong feature for they only get bit parts in King's novels and I enjoyed their roles in the story.
This series is not one you can read as a stand alone story and it explores some of the gaps left in the Dark Tower novels, Roland's younger years are extremely interesting.