Chico Comics Page Review: Gideon Falls #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Illustrator: Andrea Sorrentino
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Steve Wands
Reviewer: Chris “The Bearded Wonder” Natale
On my first read through of this comic, I didn’t quite know where it was going to lead, but I loved it. The town of Gideon Falls is mysterious and keeps you on your toes. Lemire really keeps you invested in the parallel stories of the two main characters, Father Wilfred and Norton, up until the final page of the issue. I find Norton relatable because I could see a little bit of myself in him. He struggles with some sort of mental illness and seeks help. To me, Lemire also really captures what evil is without being cliché, instead making you wonder and think from start to finish. This is not just tales of the Devil told to scare children into not misbehaving. This is something more. It’s really hard to try to pave a road to the story that Lemire has planned and I love that he didn’t give much away in the first issue. Call it an air of mystery, but I want to find out where this path leads and I can’t wait for the next issue. When reading some comics, I usually don’t feel this sense of “I need to know what happens next,” but that is not the case with Gideon Falls #1.
The art by Andrea Sorrentino is perfect for this story. It is so detailed and he is one of my favorite comic book artists. I simply can’t get enough of his art. I have been a fan of Sorrentino ever since reading his run on Green Arrow for DC’s New 52 and Old Man Logan books with Lemire. There is just something about his art that makes me want to hang it up on my wall. I found myself savoring every panel on each page. He does a great job of telling the story through the characters in both scenes with dialogue and those with none. The colors done by Dave Stewart only complement Sorrentino’s work. You can see that he uses darker neutral colors when the story is focused on Norton and somewhat brighter when looking at Priest Wilfred. However, there is one color that really stands out throughout this issue and that is the usage of red. It’s on the very first page as soon as we meet Norton, highlighting one of his shirts or a coat that he’s wearing on some pages. There is also this one panel with a screw in the ground that I cannot get over. I also cannot review this issue without mentioning the Black Barn. It was so creepy, yet it made me wonder what is inside it. The incarnation of pure evil? Or some possessed farming tools? I’m only joking. Possessed farming tools would be too mild for where this story is headed. Overall, the use of red was extremely effective throughout the issue and I love when a colorist isolates a specific color. It just makes you think of the meaning behind it and why they are using it the way they are. I would assume that red for this particular comic is referencing evil or just bad juju in general. The lettering by Steve Wands was done well and I was able to follow along from the first page to the last. I like the usage of black and white distinguishing when Norton is talking to himself or when he is writing in his journal. Lemire, Sorrentino, Stewart and Wands are really on to something special here. I will be reading this comic again to see if I can pick up on anything else and just because I found it so interesting. It had elements of horror, mystery, supernatural/occult and I just couldn’t get enough.
Overall, if you have read my review up until this point, you will gather that I loved this comic. It was just so different than most things that I have read and just when I think Lemire can’t get any better, he surprises me once more. The art and colors used throughout this comic were perfect for setting the atmosphere and characters that it encompasses. What I like about being a reviewer is that I had the pleasure of reading this comic a month before it’s published and on the racks in comic shops everywhere. All I can say is that anyone who is reading this, do yourself a favor and tell your local comic shop to add this to your pull list because this is a comic you won’t want to miss.
Gideon Falls #1 begins with a man named Norton who believes there is evil in the city and that he is finding small fragments each time he rummages around. Norton is also a victim of mental illness and his therapist believes that this is all in his head. On the other hand, there is a town called Gideon Falls where a Catholic priest named Wilfred is tasked to replace another priest after his passing. However, the two stories are connected by a shroud of descending darkness. Is Norton on to something with his conspiracy of evil lurking around every corner or are his darkest thoughts manifesting themselves into something more?
“Evil being the root of mystery, pain is the root of knowledge” (Simone Well, French Philosopher). Gideon Falls intertwines the elements of conspiracy, faith, and mystery while introducing relatable, interesting characters that readers can find a part of themselves in. The art is beautifully detailed while using a lot of dark colors to set the perfect tone for the story it is trying to tell. Gideon Falls #1 is coming to local shops near you on March 7, 2018 so be sure to call ahead and add it to your pull list. I know I am. The official rating by the Bearded Wonder is a full beard on the beard scale, which is a 10/10.
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