Play For Keeps, ‘Cause You Might Not Make It Back – Reviewing ‘Gideon Falls #24’

by Brendan M. Allen

“Wicked Worlds,” Part Three. Sheriff Clara is trapped in “Western” Gideon Falls. She’s holding her own with a six-gun, but a six-gun isn’t much help against a tidal wave of killer bugs!

Just like the publisher’s blurb states, Gideon Falls #24 is the Sheriff Clara show. She’s in a pinch, stuck in the Wild West version of Gideon Falls, running for her life from… zombies? Possessed townfolk? I’m not entirely sure, but the things are terrifying, and as the blurb also states, her old fashioned iron isn’t much of an effective deterrent. 
I’ve stated before that I don’t have much of a clue what the hell is even happening in Gideon Falls any more, and I stand by that. 
Not that the story has lost the thread or anything. I honestly believe this confusion is by design. We’re learning the rules of this absolute madhouse at the same time as the characters in the book. The protagonists are flying by the seats of their pants, going full tilt into the unknown. Jeff Lemire effectively conveys that intense anxiety and mind bending disorientation to the reader, keeping us all on our heels as we take this ride with the locals.

There are a few chapters of Gideon Falls where Lemire steps back and lets the art team do most of the heavy lifting. This is one of those. There really isn’t much dialogue, other than several uses of my favorite expletive. This thing is one big chase scene, with a bunch of shoot ‘em up bug zombie gore. 
The aesthetic established by Andrea Sorrentino and Dave Stewart is beautifully unsettling. The posse that’s coming for Clara is pure nightmare fuel. Shockingly, there isn’t a whole lot of Sorrentino’s signature panel twisting. He plays it pretty straight for most of the chapter. Even so, this is a very visual chapter, and the art team delivers a nerve-wracking experience for your reading pleasure. 
That all being said, this is a very entertaining chapter, despite it basically being one continuous take. I’m used to this team jumping around in the timeline and between the different threads a little more than this, but it works, and it works reasonably well. 

Gideon Falls #24, Image Comics, 19 August 2020. Created by Jeff Lemire (script) and Andrea Sorrentino (art), with letters/design by Steve Wands.

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