Dread-Inducing Terror Collected In Gideon Falls, Volume Two: Original Sins TPB

by Brendan M. Allen

The mystery deepens in the second volume of the runaway bestselling series by New York Times bestselling and Eisner Award-winning writer Jeff Lemire (Descender) and Andrea Sorrentino, the acclaimed creative duo behind Green Arrow and Old Man Logan. As the reclusive and troubled young man Norton becomes more immersed in his quest for the secret of the legendary Black Barn, washed-up Catholic priest Father Fred unravels the secret behind a series of grisly murders. 

Gideon Falls Volume 2: Original Sins contains the entire second arc of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s mind-bending occult thriller. After the blow-off of Volume 1: The Black Barn, the connection between Norton and Father Fred is becoming clearer, is still maddeningly just out of reach. Volume Two takes us deeper into Sheriff Miller’s personal hell and the mysterious disappearance of her kid brother Daniel. Meanwhile, Norton and Dr. Xu have located the foundation of The Black Barn and have begun reassembling the damned thing.

I spent the whole first arc wondering which storyline was going to pop first, and then, in an awesome swerve, they both did, in the bottom corner of the very last page of Volume One. Things are finally coming together, but there are more players (and timelines) involved than it first appeared.

I absolutely love the way this second arc was set up. Jeff Lemire employed some slick tricks in the first six chapters to keep the parts of this dual narrative separate, while maintaining the possibility they were both inextricably connected. Now that we’ve seen the big reveal from the first arc, pieces are starting to fall into place, but there are still so, so many questions.

Every time I think I have Gideon Falls figured out, Jeff Lemire throws another insane twist in the mix that pretty much changes everything. Each of the layers he’s crafted works on its own as a twisted supernatural mystery. Then, when you start to see how all the pieces start fitting together, it’ll do your head in.

If the script weren’t enough to make you start questioning reality, those layouts by Andrea Sorrentino will certainly do the trick. There’s one spread in particular in this collection where Sorrentino must’ve drawn a thousand panels, then arranged them all into one of those photomosaics where all the tiny pictures make a larger picture. I’m viewing a digital copy, blown up about 600%. Those are all little frames. Every last one of them. Sorrentino’s unconventional panelwork, gutters and layout bring a beautifully disturbing, cinematic feel. The non-linear visual storytelling and frenetic energy is brilliantly suited to Lemire’s script.

Chapter Twelve is not the place to jump into this thing. This is a complex, nuanced, deranged narrative. Volumes one and two are required reading before diving into the third arc. Luckily, the good folks over at Image set this up brilliantly for you. Volume One (chapters 1-6) is already out. Volume Two (chapters 7-11) drops 17 April, the same day as Gideon Falls #12. You can grab the whole doggoned thing and bring yourself up to speed for about $25.

Gideon Falls, Volume 2: Original Sins TPB, collects Gideon Falls #7-11, published by Image Comics, released 17 April 2019. Created by Jeff Lemire (script) and Andrea Sorrentino (art), color by Dave Stewart, letters by Steve Wands.

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