GIDEON FALLS #1 BY JEFF LEMIRE AND ANDREA SORRENTINO
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
Despite its understated tone and methodical pace, GIDEON FALLS #1 is a surprisingly tense and exhilarating read. Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino expertly craft a slow-burning horror through thoughtful dialogue and exquisitely detailed art. This issue makes for an intriguing introduction to this world and the eccentric characters who inhabit it.
89 %
RIVETING HORROR

Writer Jeff Lemire reunites with artist Andrea Sorrentino for brand new horror project GIDEON FALLS. Previously, they have worked on GREEN ARROW and OLD MAN LOGAN together. As a result, their strength as a team shows in every gritty detail of this first issue. Their story follows the lives of two vastly different people who find themselves lost and looking for answers.

Norton’s Neurosis

The comic begins with a young man named Norton, sifting through his city’s trash heap. In his eyes, he’s trying to solve a conspiracy. This plot, he fears, could change everything. Because of the undisclosed nature of the conspiracy, we’re made to second-guess the intentions of everyone around him. Thus, Norton is an unreliable, yet engaging, protagonist.

Gideon Falls Jeff Lemire
Image courtesy of Image Comics

Within the first few pages, Norton’s therapy session informs us to his unique view of the world. We find out he believes he is the only one with the power to stop an unknown force that threatens all of mankind. Lemire also shows us entries in Norton’s diary. Likewise, Sorrentino provides visual cues, drawing our attention to the objects of his fascination. As a result, you can’t help but wonder if there is an underlying truth to it all. The sense of distrust makes for a tense read. I am invested in how Norton’s story will unravel.

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Wilfred’s Weakness

The second character, Wilfred, is a middle-aged Catholic priest struggling to reconcile his past. Wilfred is assigned to the sleepy town of Gideon Falls after the previous pastor’s untimely death.

Gideon Falls Jeff Lemire
Image courtesy of Image Comics

Wilfred’s story is the more cliché of the two. A grizzled, washed-up priest with a checkered past sent to investigate a death in a small town; the set-up seems a bit too forced to make for an interesting character study. It’ll be intriguing to see how Wilfred’s story will start to split from the familiar tropes that inspired it.

Parallels can already be made between Norton and Wilfred. The two are outcasts in their communities. In addition, they are both tied up in far-reaching conspiracies. I predict that their paths will cross down the road. I’m eager to see if and how their storylines interact.

Art in GIDEON FALLS #1

The art is without a doubt the highlight of the issue. From the textured quality of the shadows to the low, saturated hues, Sorrentino’s skillful visuals and Dave Stewart‘s subtle use of color serve to heighten the atmosphere of Lemire’s writing.

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A common challenge in visual media is to depict the fear of the unknown. Simply put, nothing can compare to the image already taking root in the back of your mind. It is like a horror movie monster hidden in the dark, terrifying you until you switch on the lights. Avoiding the pitfalls that come from exposing a mystery too early is no easy task.  Yet, Sorrentino manages to avoid these pitfalls. His art never detracts from the horror. Instead, it adds to the tension already there. Stewart and Sorrentino expertly use color and line to reveal what Lemire hides in the dark. They shine a light on the monster and, in doing so, cast even deeper shadows to inflate our worst fears.

Gideon Falls Jeff Lemire
Image courtesy of Image Comics

Final Thoughts

The story is a rapidly changing mystery that borders on the supernatural. Lemire continues to intrigue as he blurs the line between reality and perception, mimicking the characters’ fall into madness. His writing draws similarities to H.P. Lovecraft’s. They both use the same method of building up and tearing down protagonists in the face of the unknown. Likewise, Lemire explores that nameless fear of facing some unspeakable horror. Whether or not the world of GIDEON FALLS follows the same rules, the comparisons are there. However, when confronted by the alien and the bizarre Lovecraft’s characters crack under the pressure. As of now, we can’t say for sure if Norton and Wilfred will do the same.

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There is a sense of purpose to the way the story progresses so that by issues end you can’t help but anticipate the madness to come. Overall, I look forward to seeing how this story continues to develop and come into its own.

GIDEON FALLS #1 releases March 7th, 2018.

One Comment

  1. […] writing by Jeff Lemire and absolutely mindbending visuals by Andrea Sorrentino and Dave Stewart, GIDEON FALLS isn’t a story you’ll forget any time soon. Volume 1 collects issues #1-6 as well as a cover art […]

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