Gideon Falls #9

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Image Comics

Review by Jim Allegro

Gideon Falls #9 continues to unspool the elaborate web binding together the characters of Jeff Lemire’s supernatural thriller. The mysterious connection between Norton and Father Fred deepens as both take to the road in search of information about the Black Barn. For Norton, this quest means escaping the asylum with Angie’s help and returning to the former site of the orphanage of his childhood. Meanwhile, Fred journeys with Clara to ask her father pointed questions about the Barn and Norton.

In both cases, the female characters drive the narrative. One of the refreshing aspects of the second arc is the shifting spotlight onto Detective Clara and Dr. Xu. We learn more about Clara’s relationship with her parents and lost brother in this issue. And Angie’s friendship with Norton grows as she sneaks him out of the ward to a coffee shop where Norton searches for a clue. We need to laud Lemire for allowing the women in this book to grow in significance without contorting them into predictable love interests. The result is an intimate story about the unlikely bonds that can sometimes form between men and women.

These friendships help Fred and Norton negotiate the blurry line between reality and imagination. A familiar theme of Lemire’s work, the gray area between real and unreal, past and present, sanity and madness, motivates the action in this arc. Fred is haunted by a visit from a person from his past that cannot be real, and Norton’s search for the clue is motivated by a dream-like vision. Clara’s father also makes an impossible connection among Norton, the Black Barn, and a shadowy figure from long ago.

Finally, it remains impossible to report on this comic book without complimenting the artwork. Andrea Sorrentino makes possible the creepy feel of Gideon Falls, with unfinished lines, foreboding angles, and anxious expressions. A wonderful splash page of Norton in the asylum, crouched on the floor in a fetal position, drives home the character’s disjointed place in the narrative. And Dave Stewart continues to bathe the characters in the kinds of murky shadows that make this such a haunting comic book.

Verdict: Buy It.

Lemire and Sorrentino keep up the suspense in Gideon Falls #9. The second arc of this Image comic has only gained steam. I continue to recommend this book as a solid BUY.

Jim Allegro

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