Gideon Falls, Volume 4: The Pentoculus: 06/14/21
Gideon Falls, Volume 4: The Pentoculus by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (Illustrator) is the first good look at Pentoculus Machine that's in the center of the Black Barn. It's also the first explanation of why the characters we've been following have been drawn to the barn.
The rapid spread of COVID in 2020 delayed the release of volume 4 to the point that my pre-order was canceled, not by the book store, but by their distributor. Since neither of us realized what had happened until months later when I saw volume 5 had been released, I've fallen way behind in my reading of this series.
For Volume 3: Stations of the Cross I looked at how the protagonists were set up in a scarecrow (protector) / minotaur (monster) dichotomy. For this volume their status is downgraded as their roles in a greater destiny is established. This move also drops the series solidly into horror, although it's been skirting that genre throughout the previous volumes.
The protagonists from the center of the barn are called out for being members of a predicted set of heroes who will bring the end of the barn, the machine, and the monster who controls (is controlled by) the machine. Thus while their status appears to evolve into "big damn heroes," in terms of success on the road, it's a huge downgrade to the most vulnerable form of traveler (assuming a white cis-gendered male centered narrative). Suddenly being privileged travelers (00) is not good news.
Their destination is a rural place (33). Outside of the barn, it is the old Gideon Falls. Inside, it's a primitive looking village. The bigger question is, what will happen to all the alternate Gideon Falls once the barn is destroyed?
Their route is the labyrinth (99) as represented through the constant referral to the center of the barn. Their journey to the center is also a huge factor into their transformation into privileged travelers. While ultimately the barn is a death trap, for the trap to be set, they must travel a fairly easy path.
The fifth book is Wicked Worlds (2020).