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Gideon Falls #8 Review: Bridging the divide

A tightly scripted Gideon Falls brings us a good step closer to understanding in this book’s unique way.

Gideon Falls is an ever-moving target. It’s a demanding, strange book that evades the conventional step-by-step narrative trappings of a mystery or horror comic in favor of delivering a larger, labyrinthine and supernatural plot in ways that move both forwards and backwards. This can be frustrating, like it was in the previous issue. Or, it can be a tightly scripted, effective affair that delivers on all fronts like it does here.

What’s it all about this time around? Image’s preview reads:

As the gossamer threads that appear to connect Father Fred and Norton across Space and Time become more entwined, Norton suffers a mental setback that could jeopardize both their investigations.

That sounds like a promise to deliver some answers, finally, doesn’t it? Just don’t get your hopes set too high, because this issue does and doesn’t deliver on that!

You see, Jeff Lemire isn’t a conventional writer (nor would I think most Gideon Falls fans ask him to be) and that’s great! It means you get things like the mind-bending end of the previous arc, Black Lodge references and all. But it also means you get the elusive, evasive suggestions of an answer like those laid out here as Father Fred suffers a kind of cross-dimensional vision that doesn’t offer up any practical answers at all — but does a great job of getting us closer to them in this book’s own way.

 

Image Comics

That’s the power of the narrative here. Eight issues in, Gideon Falls is starting to feel so wholly unique and within its own confines that you couldn’t — shouldn’t — have expected any more. Those little hints and strange visages, beautifully and horribly rendered by Andrea Sorrentino across dark men seeking access to Norton’s mind as well as Father Fred getting assistance from beyond, constitute great development for the bounds of this specific plot. I personally love that kind of world-bound payoff and clearly this creative team wants to revel in that, too.

Sure, it’s a slow issue, one that could’ve laid out exactly what’s going on with these alternative dimensions, time jumps, Reddy, or any number of plots as a one-off answer — that probably would’ve been satisfying too, and there are things I’m dying to know.

Instead though? It opts to deliver this unifying element through Father Fred’s restless connection to another world, more and more strongly teamed with Clara in great character work, that suggests a sleek answer to all of them at once. That’s character and plot development all at once in a nigh unparalleled way and it makes Gideon Falls everything it is now and everything I hope it can continue to be.

Gideon Falls #8
Is it good?
In a sharp rebuke of the weird blip that was the last issue, Gideon Falls gets back to the business of being the weirdest, scariest comic out now in a compelling, tight issue that offers no immediate answers but a fantastic path forward to them that only this creative team could deliver as Lemire and Sorrentino are 100% on top of their game.
The opening scenes, with a young Norton pestered by our main villain, are downright terrifying in a way I haven't seen in comic books in...years.
Gideon Falls is back to being weird! There's a mind-melting scene here that is as beautifully designed by Sorrentino as it is bewildering -- I love it.
Things are undeniably moving a little slowly, eight issues in one might expect maybe not answers but at least hints. We're finally getting them, yes, but I don't blame folks for falling off.
10
Fantastic
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