"Gideon Falls #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino
Colored by Dave Stewart
Lettered by Steve Wands
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 18th, 2018
Things are heating up in the small town of Gideon Falls as Father Fred and Sheriff Miller are chasing down a killer. What connection does this madman have with the mysterious Black Barn? Meanwhile, in the city, Norton's therapist uses hypnosis to dive into his memories and find out the truth about his obsession with the Black Barn. It's tough to decide which is more frightening as this foreboding series continues.
Let's start with Fred. Artist Andrea Sorrentino opens Gideon Falls #5 with an incredible 9 panels focusing on specific details of the faceoff between Fred, the Sheriff, and the killer. We bounce from the killer's crazed eyes to Fred's fearful gaze to the bloody hammer to the gun in the sheriff's hands. This all culminates in a larger panel in the shape of the word “BLAM.” You can probably guess what happens there.
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This leads to a chase that Sorrentino frames beautifully. I love how he guides your eyes to the key areas of the images, whether we're seeing wide shots of an open field with Fred and Sheriff Miller appearing as little specs or a close-up of a bloody knife found on the ground. The art direction here is completely unique and it works wonders to set the tone of the series.
Sorrentino's stellar work continues with Norton, as the regular images of him and his therapist sitting in his home are surrounded by child-like drawings. These start out peaceful with smiling people, then get terrifying with hanged corpses and all kinds of violence. These are presented with a black background and red lines that really pop off the page in a most sinister fashion.
Norton's hypnosis spirals into a trippy exploration of his mind with some of the most unsettling yet beautiful images. They remind me a bit of the movie Inception, but instead of buildings cascading on themselves, it's shots of Norton himself. If anyone ever had any doubt that comics are an art form, just show them this book.
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Throughout this experience, we see the therapist's dialogue appearing in these hazy word balloons. Letterer Steve Wands makes her speech feel like it's coming through water to finally reach Norton. He's scared of what he'll unearth as he goes deeper, but her words push him down.
Dave Stewart's colors provide a balance of gritty realism and abject terror. The kicker is the color red. Every time it appears on the page, even just as a circle to draw attention to something, it's rather shocking. With all the blood and kid's pictures seen here, there's a lot of shock.
Writer Jeff Lemire paces Gideon Falls #5 perfectly. I was on edge the entire time, as the tension continues to rise with every turn of the page. Although we don't know a lot about the Black Barn just yet, the very thought of it is enough to send a shiver down your spine. Gideon Falls is one of the scariest comics on the stands today. It's not going to scare you with blood and gore. Instead, it seeps under your skin, staying with you for some time.