Review – Gideon Falls #12 (Image Comics)

Gideon Falls #12 Feature
Digging up the Past in Gideon Falls #12
  • Writing - 7.5/10
  • Art - 8/10
  • Overall - 7.7/10
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Gideon Falls #12

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Andrea Sorrentino
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters/Design: Steve Wands
Variant Cover: Ming Doyle
Editor: Will Dennis
Maturity Rating: M
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: April 17th, 2019

It’s time to go back to the Fall of 1886 when the killings first began. Discover the origin of The Ploughmen through the eyes of Father Jacob Burke as he chases ‘The Smiling Man’ through the Black Barn. 


Digging up the Past in Gideon Falls #12


It all began in 1886. That’s When the killings started; when the darkness crept into town. The first murdered body was found that Fall; by Christmas, there were twelve. A witness to the eleventh murder offered a vague description of a ‘smiling man’ but nothing more. Two days later, that witness was found hanging in a barn. Shortly thereafter, another man went missing; this time a witness claimed to know full-well who the culprit was. She said it was Norton Sinclair? A group of townsmen went to confront Norton at his old Black Barn, and were never heard from again; until now that is. In Gideon Falls #12 Jeff Lemire is digging up the past and giving readers a proper origin story for “The Ploughmen”. 


Gideon Falls #12 Cover Art By Andrea Sorrentino (Image Comics)

If the introduction to this month’s issue seems familiar, well – it should. Lemire used this identical setup back in January when he first teased the storyline to readers. This time, however, it’s written from the perspective of the will-be Ploughmen, as opposed to being recalled/narrated by ‘Doc Sutton. The issue focuses primarily on Father Jacob Burke, future founder of ‘The Ploughmen’, as he travels aimlessly through spacetime; lost in the Black Barn. In a dream-like state, Burke hopelessly chases after ‘the smiling man’, quite literally crashing through different timelines and eras in Gideon Falls history as he does so. The past, present, and future all collide in a brilliant, albeit slightly confusing kaleidoscope of terror. 

It was only a matter of time before Lemire decided to take a hard-fork with Gideon Falls. As fans of his work will undoubtedly know, his plot progressions tend to lean toward the non-linear. Especially as of late. Lemire’s imagination constantly runs rampant with new ideas and new characters. His stories are multi-dimensional, they possess depth. Every character molded from his mind feels immensely personal, thus giving readers an eerie sensation of familiarity even in the face of the unknown. But above all else, Jeff Lemire is exciting. Gideon Falls #12 is exciting. It’s the kind of comic book writing that rewards loyal fellowship; an intelligent and valuable commentary for the rest of the genre to take note of.


It’s difficult to describe Andrea Sorrentino‘s artwork. I can’t even begin to articulate all of the subtle nuances, nor the brilliant intricacies he so effortlessly displays. These are the tiny god-particles that help make the world of Gideon Falls what it is. Sorrentino is an artist without equal and a perfect fit for Lemire’s storytelling.

In Gideon Falls #12 Sorrentino is pulling out all the stops, evoking a powerful emotional response from his readers by inserting elements of Christian mythology and imagery. What results is a truly terrifying and mesmerizing visual experience. A psychotic psychedelic oasis through the mind of Father Burke. 


Sometimes in order to move forward, you need to first go backward. It appears Jeff Lemire is telling us that in order to understand the Black Barn, we need to go back to where it all began. While a part of me is admittedly disappointed at having to wait to find out what happened with Norton and Father Fred, I know we’ll get there in time. It’s what I love about Jeff Lemire; he’s constantly imbuing a sense of confidence that everything will be ok. He reminds readers that it’s ok to look out the window, to enjoy the journey rather than always needing to focus on the road ahead. 

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