The Doctor’s Missing Nightmare Arc Collected In Gideon Falls Volume 3 TP

by Brendan M. Allen
 After the mind-blowing events of the second arc, our story heads right through the looking glass. Father Burke tracks a vicious killer named… Norton Sinclair? And when that killer can travel through time (and space!), readers are in for a wild ride.

The first two arcs of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s mind-bending occult thriller dragged us all over time and space to chase a killer and question reality. Gideon Falls Volume 3 TP  kicks off by dropping us back in Gideon Falls 1886, where this whole nightmare began, with the first sighting of The Black Barn and the roots of The Ploughmen.

The pacing of Gideon Falls has been all over the map, in all the right ways. It has been maddening (and so much fun) following Lemire through this labyrinth, with only the slightest hope of making it through to the other side. Volume three is finally starting to show signs of bringing everything together.

If you thought the first two arcs of Gideon Falls were absolutely bonkers, get a load of this. There have been two separate timelines (dimensions?) in play from the start. Father Fred’s and Norton/Daniel’s, right? Now that those two have gotten all smashed together and swapped around, there’s this whole other,  third, original line to follow, with Father Burke and The Smiling Man. This arc feels like the blowoff, but every time I think I have this thing figured out, Lemire yanks the carpet out, so…maybe? (It’s not.)

Jeff Lemire’s script is brilliant. This is one of those stories that lets out just enough line to let you think you have a handle on the situation, before jerking the rod, setting the hook, and yanking you back in another direction. Over and over again. There are so many twists and turns, nothing makes sense, until two, three, or seven issues down the line. This third arc is slow and deliberate. Loads to take in, and then a huge reveal.

I’ve talked a lot about the artwork in this series. I’ve brought it up in conversations that have absolutely nothing to do with comics or horror. My wife’s tired of hearing about it, I’m sure. Andrea Sorrentino torques his layouts, panels, and gutters in ways that I’ve never seen, adding layers of tension to already disturbing visual content. Dave Stewart’s palette dials up the discomfort even further. These dudes are deliberately creating a nerve-racking, disquieting, and stressful experience for your enjoyment. God, I love this story.

This is the missing nightmare arc of Doctor Who. There’s an evil TARDIS shaped like a barn, a vampire Master, and some very confused companions. Not really. Like, at all. That’s just how I wrap my brain around this absolutely insane, dead brilliant piece of horror. Hands down, one of the best books I’ve read in any genre. Nothing makes any damned sense, except when it all does. 

That being said, this isn’t the arc to jump on. This is a complex, nuanced, deranged narrative. If you haven’t been tracking, I’d definitely recommend grabbing Volumes One and Two before cracking this one open. You’d probably be able to piece together some of the important stuff, but why miss out? Do this thing up right. 

Gideon Falls Book 3: Stations of the Cross TP, Collects Gideon Falls #12-16, Image Comics, released 09 October 2019. Created by Jeff Lemire (script) and Andrea Sorrentino (art), color by Dave Stewart, letters/design by Steve Wands.

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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