Gideon Falls #16
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
It’s been some months since Gideon Falls left Clara standing at the site of The Black Barn. In the intervening time, a lot has happened to Father Wilfred. So, it’s with surprise that I open this issue to find the story refocused on Clara and her younger brother, Danny. However, you may know him as Norton Sinclaire.
Danny Sutton arrives home. He can’t remember a thing about his childhood. He knows Gideon Falls is a big city, not like the small town he’s in. Though the police officer, Clara, insists the small town is also Gideon Falls. And though Danny Sutton, Norton Sinclaire, whatever is name is, can’t remember a damn thing–it’s here, in the small town, where the whole story started. It’s here, in Gideon Falls, where Danny first saw The Black Barn and the grinning man. And now Danny’s back, but he’s not back alone. Someone else has come with him.
A return to Clara’s storyline was long overdue for this reader. While Father Wilfred’s thread is a mind-bending and often confusing bit of storytelling, Clara’s is grounded in the familiar and familial emotional arcs that ground a story. The rediscovery of her younger brother is as eerie as it is touching. Especially when the opening sequence of the issue is taken into account.
Furthermore, this issue offers up hints about the magic system that governs the grinning man. Up until now, I had many questions about what he wanted and why he couldn’t get it. I don’t have a complete understanding yet, but at least have an idea.
Gideon Falls has long been a gold standard for me when it comes to art, especially in terms of page layout and panel structure. However, this issue does something new. It gives readers a flashback to happier times. A time in which the realities between worlds weren’t so blurred, and so the grainy static that permeates every panel is absent, if only for a moment. This sequence, near the start of the issue, changes the tone in a big way, but still keeps the underlying dread of Gideon Falls thrives on. It’s in the facial expressions of the characters, in body language, in the reluctance to do a simple and childish thing, like climb a tree. When the two worlds meet it is a blending of artistic tones (not styles) that throw bot the world of The Black Barn, and our own world, into stark relief.
An issue that gets back to the grounded plot. Perhaps a little overdue, but this reader is glad to have something to hang his hat on.