Gideon Falls #14

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Essential

Gideon Falls #14 another entry in a stellar series that unfolds like some sort of insane piece of origami art. Time will tell of Lemire is able to stick the landing, but on the evidence at hand in Gideon Falls #14, its more likely than not that he’ll be able to present a stunning finale that will reward our patience.

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Father Burke’s faith is tested as he finds himself in another Gideon Falls, one closest to the centre, whatever that is.  Surrounded by people who claim to know him, but who he will not meet for decades, can Father Burke begin to understand the true nature of the Black Barn, and the evil hammering at the door to enter?  Find out in our Major Spoilers review!

GIDEON FALLS #14

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colors:  Dave Stewart
Letters: Steve Wands
Publisher: Image Comics, Inc.
Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 19th, 2019

Previously in Gideon Falls: in 1903, Father Jeremiah Burke vanished from Gideon Falls, and re-emerged 50 years later to tell a bizarre tale to the local authorities.  But behind that disappearance, lies a web of time travel, parallel worlds and the Black Barn which haunts them all.  Here is the tale of how Father Burke began his journey into the impossible.

WHO’S THAT KNOCKING AT THE DOOR?

Once Gideon Falls grabs you, it refuses to let go.  And it can never be anticipated, such as in Gideon Falls #14.  Father Burke has stepped through the threshold, and appeared in front of a group of half- naked people, all wearing the sort of face masks that Norton Sinclair used in the modern day as he excavated bits and pieces of the Black Barn.  Memorably, behind Burke rests a huge pile of crucifixes, which appear regularly in the village he is taken to recover.

Gideon Falls began as a ghost story, with the appearances of the Black Barn portending disaster and death.  In the issues since, the story has morphed into something stranger, more exotic, with hints of time travel and parallel universes.  The implicit becomes more explicit in Gideon Falls #14, but writer Jeff Lemire has held back enough critical information so that the reader still has to grope their way towards a possible explanation.

An issue like Gideon Falls #14 could be accused of being deliberately frustrating, of deliberately holding back valuable information just to extend the storyline and keep people buying.  That would be unfair.  There’s too much rushing about these days, especially in storytelling.  Too much insistence writers should start as close to the end as possible, sacrificing character and tension in a mistaken belief that the attention span of audiences is measured in minutes, if not seconds.  Gideon Falls #14 is a return to an earlier time, where writers were prepared to give the story time to breathe, to make the reading experience more immersive, more seductive.  As a result, whenever the finale appears, Gideon Falls will be looked back on as an experience worth savouring, a fine meal, indeed, and not a cheap trip down the road to McDonalds.

IT’S ALL IN THE TIMING

Andrea Sorrentino’s art continues to impress in Gideon Falls #14.  There’s that element of photo-realism to the characters, particularly Burke, which adds to the off-kilter feeling that the series has cultivated so assiduously.  The red-tinged memories that swamp Burke in his delirium as he recovers from losing his eye convey menace and information in just the right doses.  Swirling perspectives, panels that flip and flop and disintegrate all depict Burke’s mind wrestling with what he has seen and experienced.  His confusion is depicted with panels that have no straight lines, but instead melt and warp and essentially collapse down the page, mirroring his own confusion and ours.  Couple his artwork with Dave Stewart’s deft use of color, and Gideon Falls #14 is yet another masterpiece in a series brimming with distinctive, awe-inspiring work.

BLACK BARN, BLACK HEARTS

At its heart, Gideon Falls is a horror story – a story of madness, of obsession, of confronting the realities of the universe as they are, not as the characters want them to be.  It’s a story of sacrifice, of efforts to keep the evil pounding at the door at bay.  It’s moody and tension filled, an accomplished story that opens and opens like an unfolding flower, a flower with a malign purpose at its centre.  While the upcoming television series will bring those images to tactile life, it is in issues like Gideon Falls #14 that the beating, black heart of the story lies, waiting to entrap careless characters, and readers, forever…

BOTTOM LINE:  ESSENTIAL. 

Time travel, recursion, the nature of evil and obsession.  Gideon Falls #14 has all that and a whole lot more.  With Jeff Lemire ably steering the plot, and Andrea Sorrentino’s artwork bringing this insane cauldron of ideas to life, Gideon Falls #14 inches the story closer to its conclusion, while revealing something more of what exactly is going on.  The Black Barn is lurking, constant reader, and when it reveals itself in all its awful glory, watch out.


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About Author

Romantic. Raconteur. Kangaroo rustler. Sadly, Rob is none of these. Rob has been a follower of genre since at least the mid-1970s. Book collector, Doctor Who fan, semi-retired podcaster, comic book shop counter jockey, writer (once!) in Doctor Who Magazine and with pretensions to writing fantasy and horror, Rob is the sort of fellow you can happily embrace while wondering why you're doing it. More of his maudlin thoughts can be found at his ill-tended blog https://robertmammone.wordpress.com/

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