Finally, the wait for the third issue of Gideon Falls has been released. As a comic reader, the month-long delay for issues has become a part of life. However, waiting for a new Gideon Falls is a form of torture. The mysterious story from the brilliant mind of Jeff Lemire has been eating away at me. What is this all leading up to? Trash pickers and men of god and black barns, where is the connection? How long will we need to wait to find out?
The title has been blowing up in the comic world, with the first issue now on its third printing and #2 getting a reprint as well. It turns out, lots of readers are hopping on this journey to who knows where. All we know is it is brilliantly written- of course- the depth of the art and characters add a scale to this book. It really is like nothing we have read before, and I love every minute of it- well, except all the waiting and guessing.
After last issues significant reveal that Dr. Xu can see the mysterious black barn as well, we add a little wonder to these covers. The first one was attractive, and we thought little of it, and #2 gave us something a little different. But, now we know that these profiles are essential characters to the story. Do the covers connect somehow, is there a message behind them? I guess we will have to wait and see. A preview of #4’s cover has already placed it as my favourite thus far, but we can wait a month to talk about that.
After Norton discovered his lab ransacked he quickly gets down to booby trapping the whole room. While waiting in his newly protected sanctum, his first guest is none other than his psychiatrist Dr. Xu. For a lady that is very professional and good at her job, witnessing the black barn has clearly impacted her. Sharing the fact that she has now seen the barn for herself with her patient is a bit of a surprise move. But, to Norton, it legitimizes the whole thing. Now we need to wait to find out if she helps Norton further or if she tries to unravel this mystery for herself.
Father Fred is dealing with his own struggles of putting together his first sermon for the town of Gideon Falls. Now acquitted of the murder of Ms. Trembley, he is left with the duty of keeping the townspeople together. After delivering a meaningful speech by the seat of his pants, Fred meets other members of the community that add to the complexity of the story. But, in a significant turn of events, he also discovers some hidden papers within the church that connect the former reverend with the town doctor, Doc Sutton. Before the issue wraps up, we get to meet the Doc, and he may be crazier than Norton.
One of the more critical messages from this issue is the brilliance hiding in Norton’s mind. The fact that he is able to manufacture some very complex booby traps within his lab shows that the character is far more intelligent than we could have expected. What we have known about the character thus far has pointed to him being smart, but not at this level. We know he spent time in the hospital treating psychotic episodes, but what did he do before the mystery of the black barn took over his mind?
Adding Dr. Xu’s professionalism to Norton’s journey is sure to take him in new directions. The trash picker would be content with finding the barn one splinter at a time, but Xu, I am sure, will not settle at that. She is going to want to dig to the bottom of this as quickly as possible to prove, mostly to herself, that she also has not lost her mind. Plus, she is a great character, and this issue offers the best illustration of her yet that shows off many of her features.
Oh, snap! I almost forgot to mention the dark face! It is creepy as all heck. Described as an absence of light with a terrible smile, the illustration is the stuff of nightmares. Who knows how this adds to the story, but it shakes things up and puts a face to the mystery. Worth mentioning, even if all we have received is a glimpse thus far.
You can’t help but feel terrible for Fred, and I am interested to see how his background plays a part in the story going forward. But, the significant piece to his tale in this issue is Doc Sutton. I can already tell I am going to like this guy. Maybe because bringing him in gives Lemire a chance to do some information dropping, meaning there is a good chance that pieces of this puzzle will be coming together very soon. But also, because he looks like a crazed old wizard man who has allowed the black barn to take over his life much like Norton has but in a much more outlandish way. I am excited to see much more of this character.
Overall, I believe this was the best issue yet. Now that we have established some characters and settings we can finally start to dig into the wonders of this world. While we knew this series was going to be special, it is now coming to fruition. Now, all we have to do is wait some more, I have a feeling this month is going to feel much longer than the previous one.