The Laughing Man Finally Revealed In Gideon Falls #11

by Brendan M. Allen

“ORIGINAL SINS,” Conclusion In this pulse-pounding conclusion to “Season Two” of the hottest supernatural horror story in comics, it’s a surreal nightmare as Father Fred and Norton finally come face-to-face.

Finally, Norton and Father Fred are in the same place in the same time! In Gideon Falls #11, the dual protagonists are both inside the Black Barn, but barely have time to process before a new character is thrown into the mix. Norton Sinclair. The real one, who’s apparently a bit of a Time Lord sociopath with a penchant for invention and a badass moustache. This is the man behind the curtain, the guy who’s been pulling the strings to bring “Norton” and Father Fred into the same timeline. Sinclair hasn’t quite worked out all the bugs, but he definitely has nefarious plans.

Just when you think this thing can’t get any nuttier, Jeff Lemire throws a new twist. Norton isn’t Norton. That little fact was hinted at before, but the confirmation begs more questions than answers, and of course, none of those answers are forthcoming. Father Fred’s involvement is yet unexplained. Seems like that cat knows more than he’s letting on, but of course that bit is still just out of reach.
I don’t know how many more adjectives I can come up with to describe Andrea Sorrentino’s artwork on Gideon Falls. At least half of why this story is so unnerving can be attributed to Sorrentino’s visual presentation of the madness in Lemire’s script. Chapter eleven completely flies off the rails, and as the tension builds, Sorrentino throws any pretense of traditional layout and order out the window.  

This is hands down some of the best horror I’ve read. The very definition of a slow burn, but for all the right reasons. Lemire is pacing this thing out brilliantly, giving away just enough each month to satisfy morbid curiosity, but leaving enough hanging to keep readers constantly on their heels.

Gideon Falls #11, Image Comics, released 13 February 2019. Created by Jeff Lemire (script) and Andrea Sorrentino (art), letters/design by Steve Wands, color by Dave Stewart, variant cover by Mico Suayan.

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