GIDEON FALLS #1 [Review]: Blessed Are Those.
Fans of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino, rejoice! If you were into their solid Green Arrow run that hit about halfway through The New 52 or their really quite excellent two years on Old Man Logan, the wonderful news is that they’ve been basically biding their time for the past three years quietly getting this creator-owned project ready to launch.
What is Gideon Falls? Well, it’s a rural town where there’s a church that a priest named Father Fred has been assigned to serve as a pastor despite his wishes to the contrary. He’s replacing Tom Chasely, who has died recently of as yet unrevealed causes. Just as much of this first issue, though, is dedicated to Norton, a young dumpster diver in a more urban location who is cataloguing certain pieces of the random trash that he finds, cross-referencing them against a map of the city and learning enough from this to predict what trash he’s going to find where, all in the attempt to get a bead on an omnipresent sinister and ominous darkness that seems to be on the verge of revealing itself. Norton’s psychiatrist thinks all of that sounds about as crazy as we do, but he is possessed by this single-minded purpose.
This issue is a very slow burn that does nothing more than introduce us to these two settings and gets everything rolling. Tonally, it feels very similar to the stories that Lemire usually saves for himself to draw (The Essex County Trilogy, Sweet Tooth, the current and wonderful Royal City). There’s an existential angst, a literary bleakness pervading the narrative that almost seems to be as much the point of the entire endeavor as finding out whatever happens to the characters. So far, this is falling into the horror and suspense genres. It’s easy to imagine this set-up springing forth from the mind of Stephen King or his dear boy, that Joe Hill.
On art, Sorrentino keeps it relatively restrained this first time out. There are a couple of big splash pages, but he doesn’t come out of the gate swinging as hard as I expected him to — which is not to knock the art at all. It’s just for the most part understated and perfectly in-service of the story. Lemire and Sorrentino manage to pull in one of the best colorists in the business Dave Stewart, who shows up with extremely muted tones that match the somber, creepy vibe that everyone else is laying down. All told, this issue doesn’t punch me in the face quite as hard as the team’s previous work led me to anticipate, but it is an intriguing beginning, and I’m definitely interested to see what else they have in store for us. 3.5/5 Black Barn Nightmare Visions.