The Surreal Nightmare Continues In Gideon Falls #13

by Brendan M. Allen

“Stations of the Cross,” Part Two. Father Burke’s hunt for The Laughing Man killer goes from the Old West to a steampunk version of Gideon Falls (complete with an otherworldly version of The Black Barn) where “The Bishop” is a new piece added to the cosmic chess board.

If you thought the first two arcs of Gideon Falls were absolutely bonkers, get a load of Stations of the Cross. We’ve been trucking along, minding our own, trying to wrap our heads around Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s time and space warping occult thriller, knowing full well at this point there are two separate dimensions in play. Last chapter tried to completely do our heads in by introducing a third and completely new timeline with a crude, hand-drawn map showing at least THREE new separate dimensions in this twisted nightmare.

Gideon Falls #13 picks up right there. We’re staring at the same napkin map, with three of the Gideons Falls on it, “Home,” “Frontier,” and “Steam.” If those don’t sound familiar, it’s because we haven’t seen any of these until this third arc. We’re up from two dimensions to at least five, and the only consistencies between them are the town’s name, the Barn, and that lunatic Norton.

I said in my review of Chapter Twelve that it seems like all the loose ends were finally coming together, that we were finally starting to see how everything is connected. I was wrong. It’s not the first time I thought I had this thing figured out. Each time, Lemire has expertly sidestepped expectation and taken the story in a completely new and terrifying direction. “Norton” and the good Padre are nowhere to be seen in this chapter. It’s never been about them. Not really. We might see them again. Who knows?

As fantastic as the script has been, Gideon Falls wouldn’t play nearly as well without absolutely brilliant art. Linework by Andrea Sorrentino and color by Dave Stewart are beautifully unsettling. Sorrentino plays around quite a bit with layout, panels, and gutters, adding layers of  intensity and discomfort. Stewart ties the multiple narratives together visually, but keeps the moods and identities of five timelines separate and distinct.

It’s been a steady, intense build, and the payoff is right around the corner. I know. I said that before. Really, this time, though. All of the twisted layers, the disturbing visions and voices, and fractured dimensions are finally (maybe) about to converge (probably).

Gideon Falls #13, Image Comics, released 15 May 2019. Created by Jeff Lemire (script) and Andrea Sorrentino (art), color by Dave Stewart, letters/design by Steve Wands, variant cover by Gabriel Walta.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he mostly tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

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