The Laughing Man Chips Away At Doc’s Resolve In Gideon Falls #17

by Brendan M. Allen

“THE PENTOCULUS,” Part One The smash-hit horror series continues! After the time- and space-shifting journey of the previous arc, Norton and Clara are trapped in “small town” Gideon Falls with a murderous psychopath. Meanwhile, Father Fred and Angie confront the Bishop in “big city” Gideon Falls.

The good doctor’s having some trouble in Gideon Falls #17. Whatever it is about Danny/Norton that makes him a viable key, it’s apparently hereditary. While his kids wait at bedside, Doc is fighting not only for his own life, but for the fate of everyone he has ever known and loved. Probably his sanity, too, but that may have already cracked just a teeny bit. Meanwhile, Father Fred and Angie are trying to sort things back at Danny/Norton’s apartment, and they’re about to meet up with someone from the good Padre’s past who (probably) knows more about the whole mess than he’s let on. 

Jeff Lemire keeps piling it on, layer by horrific layer. Danny/Norton and Father Fred have switched dance partners and venues, which finally seems to set a few things straight, but there’s still a whole lot to unpack. Somehow, it always feels like this thing’s about to bust wide open, but somehow the answers are still always just out of reach. It’s maddening. And Brilliant. But also maddening.

Andrea Sorrentino and Dave Stewart continue to deliver some of the creepiest, most dynamic art in comics. Sorrentino has a very unique style that really sells the frenetic intensity and violence just as well as the eerily quiet moments. Stewart’s palette ties together multiple timelines, settings, and dimensions, while keeping their distinct identities separate.

Is this the final arc? I’m really kind of hoping it is, because I really, really want to know how this thing is going to end. It really seems like the excrement is about to hit the fan. All the elements are there, but it’s felt that way a few times already. Everything it seems like this whole thing is about to pop, Lemire and co. throw another twist. This is one of the best psychological horror thrillers I’ve read, but I need some resolution. At some point, these folks need to just have it out, right? Soon. Please?

Gideon Falls #17, The Pentoculus: Part 1 of 5, Image Comics, released 16 October 2019. Created by Jeff Lemire (script) and Andrea Sorrentino (art), color by Dave Stewart, letters and design by Steve Wands, variant cover by John McCrea, edited by Will Dennis.

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