Stephen King's Dark Tower

Dark Tower: Master Strategist

Before Roland Deschain rides into DARK TOWER: BATTLE OF JERICHO HILL #3, we look back at his past traps and ambush attempts

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By Neil Kleid

Nine years have passed in the world of the Dark Tower saga since the last of Gilead's Affiliation-sons and daughters of fallen gunslingers, led by Roland Deschain's ka-tet-met and warred with the forces of John Farson, the Good Man. Now, the final fight draws near and worlds hold their breath, preparing for the outcome of one last great battle. The end has come, and the time for ambush and attack will finally force the gunslingers to take the war to the forces of evil and the armies of the Crimson King.

Plans have been made, strategies drawn, and the third issue of DARK TOWER: BATTLE OF JERICHO HILL, available February 10, sees the last, valiant gunslingers of Gilead ride forth to eliminate Farson's machines and materials of war. To Roland-and friends and allies such as Cuthbert Allgood and Alain Johns-these small steps, the little ambushes, are old

DARK TOWER: BATTLE OF JERICHO HILL #3 cover by Jae Lee & Richard Isanove
hat. Roland and his ka-tet have been throwing wrenches in Farson's side since we first met them in GUNSLINGER BORN. Some plans succeeded, some failed, and as we witness yet another of Roland's master plans Marvel.com invites you to peel back the pages of our long, harrowing tale and revisit four little victories and strategies Roland enacted along the way.

ROLAND'S TEST AND VICTORY OVER CORT: Egged on by his father's betrayer, young Roland challenges his teacher, Cort, to battle for the right of manhood and to wear apprentice guns. Cort, as the test allowed, gave Roland his choice of weapon and Roland chose his hawk, David, whom he'd trained in battle just for such occasion. The unusual "weapon" took Cort by surprise and gave Roland an upper hand in defeating his teacher and winning his birthright.

DESTROYING THE GREAT, OLD MACHINES: During Roland's forced exile to Hambry, his ka-tet discovered that Farson's men had uncovered weapons of the Great Old Ones and oil enough to power them for battle against the Affiliation. Under cover of night, Roland, Cuthbert, Alain and Susan Delgado set fire to Farson's oil fields-also known as "Citgo"-and laid waste to their tankers and refineries.

DARK TOWER: BATTLE OF JERICHO HILL #3 variant cover by Patrick Zircher
SHOOTOUT IN THE SHAVED MOUNTAINS: Outnumbered and running fast, the young gunslingers led their pursuers-Eldred Jonas' Big Coffin Hunters, Farson's soldiers and a riled, vengeful posse of townsfolk-to Eyebolt Canyon in the Shaved Mountains. There, warbling and waiting, lay a hungry, dangerous beast called a 'thinny'; Roland herded the posse into the canyon and the thinny picked its prey off, one by one.

OPEN THE PITS: Steven Deschain, dead of a traitor's blade, left a cryptic message for his son and allies: "Open the Pits." Explaining to his friends that the pits' function as an ancient tool of defense, only to be used in dire circumstances, Roland instructed his soldiers to wait until Farson's men breached the walls and then open the pits: vast, open holes in the ground containing hundreds of sharp, terrible blades. Though the pits held off a single wave of Farson's men and mutants, they could not keep the enemy from taking and destroying the city of Gilead, setting the groundwork for the final, climactic battle at Jericho Hill.

 

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