For a series where the majority of its first volume built up the mystery of the place known as The Black Barn, it took some real guts from creators Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino to actually show off what it was in the same volume. Now that they’ve done that, what does the series have to offer us? An appreciatively creepy aesthetic and mysteries that only enhance its scary appeal as the characters in this series try to reconnect with The Black Barn. For Norton Sinclair and his doctor Angela in the urban sprawl that is Gideon Falls, they hope to find some release from the web of horror that is slowly closing in on them. In the case of Father Fred and Deputy Clara Sutton who reside in the quaint rural community that is Gideon Falls, it’s to find a measure of redemption and a missing brother, respectively. But how can there be two different versions of Gideon Falls occupied by these characters? And why does Norton have the same name as the man regarded as the community’s first murderer who died on the same day The Black Barn was first seen?
There are plenty of mysteries in “Gideon Falls” and they tend to outpace the answers that Lemire chooses to dispense to the reader. That’s actually not a problem so far as I’m enjoying the creepy aesthetic that he and Sorrentino are pursuing here. They’re all about creating eerie, surreal imagery that leaves the reader uneasy as they turn each page. In fact, it’s mainly because of Sorrentino’s work that I’m enjoying this series as much as I am coming after the relative disappointments of Lemire’s “Royal City” and “Descender.” The artist is the writer’s most capable artistic collaborator yet with his willingness to engage in experimental layouts, and surreal panel designs while maintaining a consistently appealing style to the characters and their world. Two volumes in and I still have faith that Lemire knows where he’s going here -- even if the route now looks like it has more in common with “The Dark Tower” than “Twin Peaks.” Yet it’s Sorrentino’s work here which proves to be the real incentive for me to stick around in “Gideon Falls.”