By Jarred A. Luján — Another month, another Gideon Falls issue that has left me afraid of turning off any of the lights off in my house. Andrea Sorrentino and Jeff Lemire are absolutely back at it again with Gideon Falls #16 this week, in what is maybe the most enlightening issue of this reviewer’s monthly question: What the hell is happening in Gideon Falls?
Gideon Falls has, since the very first issue, been some of the most bewildering storytelling I’ve ever seen in any medium. The plot has been crazy, often leaving more questions than answers. In one of my first reviews for The Comics Bookcase, I referred to what Lemire was doing as intentionally confusing the reader to add to the suspense. While there was a narrative, there was such a diversion between two characters that it often left you genuinely confused as to what was happening. It obscured the vision, making it difficult to find any sort of comfort in that. Meanwhile, Sorrentino, I think, has completely broken the mold on this book. Time and time again, Sorrentino’s art has been one of the absolute best parts of the book. Much like Lemire using the two characters to help obscure the plot, Sorrentino has used disjointed, fragmented, and unusual panel/page relationships to remove any sort of safety the reader has known from prior comics reading. It’s been an absolute masterclass of horror storytelling in the comics medium.
It’s because of that sheer consistency that makes reviewing Gideon Falls difficult at times. For the sake of the review, I can’t come here every time and tell you the same things, but Lemire/Sorrentino have delivered on every single issue of this book. This is consistent greatness from two of the absolute best storytellers in this industry. It’s that simple.
This issue deals with much of the same, but it feels like we’re getting somewhere now. We have survived the lifting of so many curtains, that it now feels like we’re getting somewhere close to the truth. But do we know? Can we be certain? Is there any promise that we’ll finally get a clear cut answer?
That’s the thing about Gideon Falls. In the way the narrative itself is structured, Gideon Falls feels more like a story about the horrors of uncertainty than the Laughing Man or the secrets of the Black Barn. Time and time again, what we felt was truth in the reality of the story, has turned out to not be anything close to what we believed.
This book has been addictive for many of us, largely because it has played off doubt and certainty for so long. Buying an issue of Gideon Falls is equal parts about buying the next chapter of a story and desperately hoping this is the puzzle piece you’ve been missing.
Overall: The final panel of this issue is one of the most terrifying panels in the series so far. The next issue is coming, of course, and at this point with Gideon Falls, all you can do is hold on for the ride—and hope to walk away certain. 9.0/10
Gideon Falls #16
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: Image Comics
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Jarred A. Luján makes comics, studies existential philosophy, and listens to hip-hop too loudly. For bad jokes and dog pictures, you can follow him on Twitter.