Writer: Jeff Lemire / Artist: Andrea Sorrentino / Image Comics
Some times, it’s so incredibly easy to get caught up in the spectacle of a grand revelation that you forget to refactor the new knowledge in your schema. Which is to say, Lemire makes sure that the understanding that Gideon Falls takes place in a self-contained multiverse is not just an errant factoid, but one of the key narrative beats. This is the type of writing reveals that I absolutely live for, subtle and brazen in equal measures as it challenges your perceptions.
Gideon Falls #16 completes the mini-duology started in Gideon Falls #15, focusing on Norton Sinclair meeting/reuniting with Sheriff Clara Sutton. The opening pages offer an almost idyllic memory of childhood before quickly pivoting back to the wonderfully grim horrific visuals that Sorrentino has been happily supplying since the start of the run.
Lemire’s dialog is poignant and direct. There is a strong sense of confusion and grief that is amplified by Sorrentino’s eternally magnificent artwork that continues to bend the conventions of traditional paneling to achieve a surreal success. Norton Sinclair coming to terms with the altered reality is a harrowing experience from page one and the issue makes it clear that his arduous journey is just beginning.
After a slightly slower start in the last issue, Gideon Falls #16 picks up the slack and speeds up the pace. As more and more of the world comes into view, the potential directions the story could take continue to grow in unpredictable, yet satisfying ways. Where Gideon Falls #16 currently is seems so far removed from where the story began, but the slow drip of information regarding the Black Barn has been entrancing and transformative. Lemire and Sorrentino are ambitious in their scope and have crafted an absolutely stellar experience for a comic reader that can be appreciated in single issues or collected volume, but let me tell you: you’re going to want to be reading this story live because it’s just that good.
9.4 “Scars” out of 10
Reading Gideon Falls? Check out BNP’s other reviews here.