"Gideon Falls #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino
Colored by Dave Stewart
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 7th, 2018
Norton, a strange man, sifts through trash in the city, searching for something that only he knows is there. Meanwhile, Wilfred, a Catholic priest with a crisis of faith, is reassigned to the small town of Gideon Falls. These two men have a connection that will become more apparent over time, as well as what they have to do with the mysterious Black Barn.
Gideon Falls is a slow burn of a horror comic. It takes its time establishing the mood and setting. You get an immediate sense of foreboding, largely brought on by Andrea Sorrentino's artwork. There's definitely something off about this world, especially if these two men are our guides through it. They each have a distorted perspective.
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Norton's view is particularly troubling. We first see him as he's angrily digging through garbage, talking to the object he's looking for, which turns out to be a small piece of broken wood. Once found, he carefully places it in a glass jar and calmly walks away. Much of this is shown without a spec of dialogue, which adds to the ominous tone of the comic. Just what the heck is this guy up to?
Somehow, Wilfred's story is just as unsettling as he rolls into town to get acquainted with his new parish. He's been called in to replace the last priest who recently passed away...probably. Dave Stewart's colors give the town of Gideon Falls a washed out look, like it's been sitting out in the sun too long. This contrasts nicely with the grim and dreary texture of Norton's city view.
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The design for both Norton and Wilfred feels rough and gritty. These are men that have been through a lot in their lives and not nearly enough of it has been good. This look matches up perfectly with the tone of the series.
The climax of Gideon Falls #1 comes in a double-page spread that links the two stories with the idea of the Black Barn. It comes as a bit of a shock, jarring with bright red color like a structure right out of Hell. This haunting image sticks with you. We don't know much about the Black Barn yet, but you can tell it's important by how it's pictured. It's mirrored by a roughly drawn image by Norton that's just as creepy.
Gideon Falls takes its time to get going. It doesn't rush into the scares. Instead, it slowly builds tension over time, building to a great cliffhanger that will definitely have you coming back for more. The comic has an unshakable feeling of dread, like untold terrors are awaiting Norton and Wilfred in the coming issues and they're the only ones that can possibly put a stop to whatever's coming. One thing is for sure, if this is writer Jeff Lemire's first foray into horror, he's off to a great start.