Reunited, siblings Norton and Clara attempt to understand what is happening with regards to the Black Barn, and reconnect with their father, whose body is alive, but mind is somewhere terrifying. When the Church intervenes, Dr Xu and Father Wilfred find themselves on the brink of a great revelation. What is it? Find out in our Major Spoilers review of Gideon Falls #17 from Image Comics.
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Will Dennis
Publisher: Image Comics
Previously in Gideon Falls: Norton’s quest for the Black Barn has essentially ruined his life, forcing him to live in squalor in an uncaring city, as he painstakingly reassembles the Black Barn, piece by piece. In Gideon Falls, Sheriff Clara Dutton has to deal with bizarre occurrences, as appearances of the Barn portend disaster. When the two siblings are reunited and granted a terrifying glimpse of the Barn, it seems that all Hell must break loose…
A LITTLE BIT OF KNOWLEDGE WILL DRIVE YOU MAD
The writer HP Lovecraft once wrote, ‘The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.’ In other words, ignorance is bliss, and once the universe’s heavily lidded eye opens up and blazes forth, that knowledge will drive you insane.
Imagine then, you’ve spent a good portion of your life researching, say, a Black Barn. You’ve pored over documents, interviewed people, looked at photographs, speculated endlessly, all the while losing friends and family as your obsession shades into compulsion. Imagine then, if you will, what would happen to you if you found that Black Barn, entered it, and found yourself…where exactly?
That’s the situation in Gideon Falls #17, where the pursuit of knowledge has led many a man and woman down a spiraling path into madness. It is that relentless obsession that marks this book as a standout tale, a gripping drama of people willing putting their heads in the lion’s mouth, all in the hope it won’t bite.
The horror, of course, is the other reason readers have come back again and again. Piece by piece, Norton has assembled only a tiny portion of the Black Barn, which appears at random in the strange time eddies that mark the series, and already it has broken him mentally. Imagine then, what would happen to him if he found the Barn and was able to enter it. His father does, at the start of the issue, and the chaotic emptiness of the universe is revealed to him in all its nightmarish glory.
LOOK INSIDE AND SEE THE HORROR
The other MVP in Gideon Falls #17 is of course, artist Andrea Sarrentino. I’ve written before about Sarrentino’s art, and I’ll do so approvingly again. Backgrounds begin to dissolve as the perspective forces you to concentrate on the characters in the foreground. Indeed, the artwork feels layered, as if the world of Gideon Falls is a construct, like the Black Barn, hiding something horrifying inside. Peel back the layers and underneath you will find knowledge, and with that knowledge, madness. Credit has to go also to colorist Dave Stewart, whose drab palette only serves to make the bloody wash he applies to the page when the Barn appears so much more striking and memorable – a glimpse into a terrible holocaust that burns the image into the eye of the beholder.
BOTTOM LINE: AT ITS CENTER, ALL IS CHAOS
Gideon Falls #17 promises a new chapter in the overall arc of this series. The revelations from the previous segment are overwhelmed by new secrets as they are revealed, layer by layer. Clara’s father lies in a coma, but his mind is at the center of…what? The universe? His mind? The multiverse? Knowledge might be power, but it also promises the end to all things. And the Black Barn is the key to that knowledge.
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Gideon Falls #17
A waypoint on the longer journey of what exactly is the Black Barn; Gideon Falls #17 is another strong chapter in a thrilling and terrifying journey towards a terrible knowledge. The trademark strong writing and fabulous art make this yet another issue you should leap on as soon as possible.