Father Fred’s Demons Rear Up In Gideon Falls #9

by Brendan M. Allen

“Original Sins,” Part Three. As Norton spirals deeper into his own mind—or deeper into madness?—Father Fred entertains a visitor from his past who can’t possibly be real, but temptation comes in all shapes and sizes… 

In the last chapter of Gideon Falls, some of the connections between Father Fred’s timeline and Norton’s became clearer, then muddied up again. Gideon Falls #9 opens up with the good padre and Sheriff Miller trying to make sense of some bizarre artifacts they picked up at Joe Reddy’s house. Norton’s still straitjacketed in a padded room, and Dr. Xu is about to make a career ending decision that’s bound to force the turn in this series.

Gideon Falls is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma (but perhaps, there’s a key?). Jeff Lemire throws a whole new set of twists in chapter nine. There’s a ridiculous amount of callbacks to previous chapters, and everything’s starting to make sense, sort of, right up until that final page, last panel. All the pieces are fitting together so nicely, and then, nothing does.

As fantastic as the script has been, Gideon Falls wouldn’t play nearly as well without absolutely brilliant art. Linework by Andrea Sorrentino and color by Dave Stewart are beautifully unsettling. Sorrentino plays around with layout, panels, and gutters, adding layers of  intensity and discomfort. Stewart ties the dual narrative together visually, but has kept the moods and identities of each timeline separate. As the script and artwork evolve, the palettes of the individual threads are are also starting to cross over.

Gideon Falls #9 carries its momentum through this second arc, right through the final reveal. It’s a steady, intense build, and the payoff is coming. Things are about to get really weird. Really weirder? Weirderer.

Gideon Falls #9, Image Comics, released 19 December 2018. Created by Jeff Lemire (script) and Andrea Sorrentino (art). Color by Dave Stewart, letters and design by Steve Wands. Variant covers available by James O’Barr and Steve Wands.

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