Gideon Falls #22
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Letters: Steve Wands
Gideon Falls has many faces. It is everyone and it is no one. From murder mystery to psychological horror, to Lovecraftian weirdness, Gideon Falls is a genre unto itself. Issue #22, does nothing to dissuade me from this claim. In fact, it might even strengthen my resolve.
One might think that after 22 issues of a comic, you’d have a general sense of what the problem (the characters face) is and how they will solve the problem. However, part of the beauty of Gideon Falls is the line it treads between what could be the literature of the weird and the campiness related to the genre of horror. Somehow, Gideon Falls always falls on the literature of the weird side of things. This isn’t to say Gideon Falls #22 doesn’t have some wrinkles in the story. On the contrary, the unknowable nature of The Black Barn, the constant splicing between worlds is amazing, but it does come with a certain lack of continuity in the narrative. While I love this comic and trust Lemire and Sorrentino to make sense of this genre-spanning piece, the direction thus far, or lack thereof, does become disorienting at times.
Much of this issue is focused on Father Fred, spliced conservatively with Dr. Xu. Both are in some dystopic cyberpunk version of Gideon Falls. Much of their confusion and discovery centers worldbuilding and unfortunately doesn’t reveal anything about the characters we didn’t already know. This isn’t necessarily a negative, however, it just wasn’t he 22 pages of this issue is simply focused on other aspects of storytelling.
As always–and I don’t get tired of saying it, Sorrentino is amazing. While this issue doesn’t that mind-bending moment of creative paneling readers have grown accustomed to in Gideon Falls, there’s still much to enjoy here by way of art. The gritty static that permeates each page flows seamlessly into a cyberpunk setting the features capitalistic churches, nanobot mods, and flying robot pimps. One of the most interesting techniques Sorrentino uses to draw the eye of readers is also one of the bluntest. Anything he wants you to look at, he puts an untarnished red box around. He’s been doing this for a while in Gideon Falls. It works amazingly well and doesn’t seem out of place–though I know some comics would suffer from this decision.
The lettering by Steve Wands is also fantastic. The robots in the cyberpunk world have distinctive courier-esque fonts and even the brief glimpse we get of the grinning terror, in the flesh, has a clever speech balloon fading color they imply a change in voice, tone, and/or cadence.
Gideon Falls #22
A solid issue, but one that feels like the creators are trying to catch readers up to speed rather than do any substantive storytelling.