Gideon Falls Volume 2: Original Sins
Gideon Falls Volume 3: Stations of the Cross
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Gideon Falls continues to deepen its mysteries and scratch that itch for fans of shows like Twin Peaks and Lost. This is a very different animal, but it still makes nods to the slow reveal of dark, otherworldly evil and ever-growing complex back history. In Original Sins, the story’s pace is faster, with the table being set in volume one. Stations of the Cross is mindblowing and drops some of the most significant character and plot bombshells while leaving room for the story to grow and expand.
Norton Sinclair, the medical-masked man, has brought his psychiatrist into his inner world, which is helped when she witnesses the things he speaks about. She is aiding him now in finding the fragments of the Black Barn to rebuild it. Meanwhile, in the other Gideon Falls, Father Fred and Sheriff Clara feel their memories of their encounter with the Black Barn slowly fading away but know it was an event that will change their lives. Clara also has a sudden revelation about her brother Daniel who went missing when he was a child.
One of the big reveals of this story is the other Norton Sinclair, a resident of Gideon Falls in the 1880s who constructed the original Black Barn. We get the well-known version of the story in volume two, but when volume three rolls around, we get a more in-depth version. That’s when the boundaries of space and time truly break down. There’s a greater understanding of what is going on, but more questions arise, and the real architect behind all the horror is kept hidden under an even deeper layer of mystery.
Gideon Falls doesn’t hit the nail on the head with character development all the time, but it does provide some wild visuals thanks to Andrea Sorrentino. I have never been a massive fan of Sorrentino’s superhero comics works, but he is a perfect fit for horror. There’s a jaggedness to his work but also a sense of realism. This means when the mental states of characters crumble in the face of some profound cosmic horror, Sorrentino can beautifully convey that collapse.
This is most definitely not a comic book that can be picked up casually. If you were to read Stations of the Cross without the previous two, you’d have zero clues what was happening. Father Fred and Norton barely appear in these issues with an earlier parson acting as the audience’s stand-in. That third volume is a revelatory multiversal world tour. There are a series of parallels between Father Fred and Norton, both dropped into the proverbial laps of women who are trying to help them make sense of their strange new surroundings. The surprising protagonist of volume 3 also ends up in the presence of an important by his journey’s end, a meeting that will shape his life forever.
I have no idea where Lemire and Sorrentino are going with this story, but what they have delivered so far is fantastic and right in my wheelhouse. In some respects, this might be a series better received when read upon its completion, being able to consume the whole saga in the complete order. I know I have lots of questions about what has been revealed, and the horror is genuinely unnerving. Lemire has opted not to lean on tropes that are already explored and is presenting us with a wholly original horror akin to Lovecraft.