Gideon Falls hits a crossroads as it wraps up its fourth story arc. The great evil known as the Smiling Man is getting ever closer to what he wants: Danny. The rest of the characters try their damnedest to fight back. Although, how do you grapple with something that lies beyond comprehension? Is a victory a real victory? Is a defeat a real defeat? My mind is bent. Every step that creators Lemire, Sorrentino, Stewart, and Wand take is even more unexpected than the previous one. This is storytelling on a mythic scale. At the same time, it never loses sight of the personal journeys of its characters within this expansive, breathtaking puzzle.
It’s not often that stories move beyond the surface level of apparent themes and explore what the boundaries and relationships of those themes are. The one thing that this group of creatives truly understands is that #StoriesMatter. They don’t just care about getting from “A” to “B.” They care about all of the things that happen in between, exploring themes of good versus evil on a spectrum of depth that usually lies outside of many storytellers’ purview. The story also deals with themes of identity. Who are we? What makes us who we are? Are we born to be evil or good? Are we simply vessels waiting to be filled by whatever we allow in? This is a story created by philosophers and entertainers alike.
They creative team deals with all of these themes, slowly unfolding each crease of a picture and revealing a landscape that feels endless, while at the same time genuinely terrifying the reader. Dealing with such hefty themes in such a peculiar and particular way, Wands creates a reading experience through lettering that overwhelms the senses and Sorrentino and Stewart draw farther and farther outside the lines, creating a visual experience that drags you further and further in with each frame until it implodes.
I’m heaping praise here without actually telling you what’s going on with the story. Why would I ruin that for you? While, yes, David Lynch and Twin Peaks are obvious predecessors to this otherworldly construct, it has become a living, breathing entity unto itself, and I dare anyone to dislike it after reading. I am excited for the day when every issue is released, and I can go back to the beginning and read uninterrupted from beginning to end. It may drive me mad.
I can’t wait for May and the next story arc to arrive.
Also, good music to listen to while reading this series is the movie score to Under the Skin by Mica Levi.
Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (writer), Andrea Sorrentino (artist), Dave Stewart (colors), Steve Wand (letters), Will Dennis (editor)
Publisher: Image Comics
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