By Dustin Cabeal
Slow burn stories in comics are best read in trades or graphic novels. The norm for comics is that most single issues are written with the trade in mind and I’m not against that nor am I necessarily for waiting for the trade. There is, of course, a longer discussion about all of this, but none of it will quicken the pace of Gideon Falls. No discussion will make this slow burn any less dull than where I find it currently.
As per the established formula, the books spends half its time with the crazy trash collector who isn’t actually crazy and the other half with the alcoholic Father who isn’t actually a murderer. This issue starts with the Father making some Irish coffee for himself before the sheriff knocks on his door. The gist of their conversation is that he’s cleared of murder due to the evidence saying it couldn’t be him and that he has no fucking clue what to write or say for his first sermon. He eventually finds the words and is later invited to someone’s house in a very swingers sort of way. The issue cliffhanger is when the Priest meets the town doctor, and finally, the story is revealed to us the reader… it’s a battle of good versus evil.
On the trash collector’s side of things, Jeff Lemire lays out some very believable and scary self-made home security traps. Picture Kevin from Home Alone, but instead of paint cans, it’s shards of glass hidden under the floor. His doctor that saw the barn pays him a visit and then quickly stops believing him. Their conversation goes nowhere, and neither character feels relevant to the story at all. Every time it switches to them it’s a little duller.
The characters are very believable, but they’re not interesting. They’re believable in the way seeing someone at the grocery store is believable. Yes, they’re a real person, but no, you’re not dying to find out why they’re buying all those Lunchables. It’s the same thing here, yes, the barn is interesting, but if I have to travel with these three dullards to find out what’s going on in there, I may as well wait for the Wikipedia page to be updated and call it good.
Lemire is a talented writer. His dialogue is believable, and the twist of this story is very intriguing. It’s the slow burn that’s not working. It’s too slow for a monthly comic. It’s been three months, but in story time it’s been barely two days, maybe three. With the way, it’s moving we might get to the Father’s second mass by August and still be dealing with the characters wondering if it’s all real or not. Perhaps with the addition of the newest character, the story will pick up.
The artwork continues to be overly scratchy. There is just so much of it that at this point all I can see is Dr. Katz when I look at it. It does give it a weird sense of movement but in a nauseating way. The only thing that doesn’t have the excessive cross-hatching is the faces of female characters which made them stand out in a bad way. They became oval’s of clarity on an otherwise busy page. If it toned down the cross-hatching, it would be a very detailed and great looking book. The coloring gives it a lot of personalities, but it’s hampered by all the black lines.
The boil down the audience for Gideon Falls there are three types of readers for it. The ones that are enjoying it, the ones that aren’t and the ones that will read it in trade. All three will have very different experiences which is one of the great and interesting things about comics. I wish I were in that third category because I have a feeling it would be better to digest as much as possible in one sitting. Instead, I find myself in that second group.