Writer: Jeff Lemire/ Artist: Andrea Sorrentino (Art), Dave Stewart (Colors) / Image Comics
It takes exactly two pages for Gideon Falls #12 a.k.a. The Laughing Man, Part One to go from zero to sixty. And mind you, the acceleration doesn’t stop after that. Lemire, Sorrentino, and Steward press the gas pedal so Bastdamn hard with the introductory to the third arc of Gideon Falls that your eyes will bug out. It is without one of the finest issues to date, which is kind of funny given that neither principle protagonist, Father Fred nor Norton Sinclair show up (or at the very least, not exactly).
The bombshell reveal of Gideon Falls #11 hinted at some of the new thematics in place in #12 and ended on Father Fred and Norton Sinclair switching places. Lemire opts to start this new arc vis a vis a flashback to 1866, to further flesh out some of the history of the titular town. Lemire’s dialog and pacing are impeccable as always, and the story has a particularly brutal cadence to it. If it’s not already clear, Lemire knows how to weave suspense and dig in at the psyche with a killer efficiency, and he also knows when to let his visual counterpart flex.
Sorrentino’s art continues to be inventive as unholy hell and remains some of the most hauntingly beautifully horrific artwork I’ve experienced. His panel work literally transcends convention and can tie your stomach into knots. All of these are aided by Stewart’s incredibly crisp coloring that make this ever-evolving urban horror story so wonderfully stressful.
Gideon Falls started with the compelling premise of a haunted location known ominously as the Black Barn, and as we learn more about the terrifying reach it and its envoys have, it’s hard not devour each monthly issue. Gideon Falls #12 is a frightening standalone issue that when viewed within in the larger context, makes for some fantastic fiction and a must read for 2019.
9.7 “Maps” out of 10
Reading Gideon Falls? Check out BNP’s other reviews here.