After a fairly disappointing 2014 annual, IDW’s X-Files returns to the main series for some mythology story arc goodness. Is it good?
The X-Files: Season 10 #11 (IDW Publishing)
The issue begins with a flashback to the country of Saudi Arabia one week ago, where what appears to be a standard terrorist car bombing turns into something much more complex. It also seems that the Middle East is now home to another very large reserve of black oil, but not the type that anyone who enjoys living actually wants.
One of the few instances where someone wishes what they just stepped in was dog poop.
Back in the present, Mulder antagonizes airport security as he and Scully travel to investigate the attack. And before you ask: Yes, Scully is keenly aware of the fact that it’s more than a bit odd for her and Agent Spooky to draw such a (deceptively) standard looking FBI assignment.
After having their investigation blocked at every turn by red tape, cultural biases against women, and shadowy figures, the pair decide to take drastic action. Scully pulls a fire alarm at a hospital, which gives her the chance to interview some of the bombing victims who are still alive. Meanwhile, Mulder uploads some raw video of the attack to the Lone Gunman. Their analysis ends up providing him with a startling revelation (while also causing a lot of people to fire weapons in his direction).
At the end of the issue, a character from Mulder and Scully’s past emerges (seriously, another one?) who may or may not be on their side.
Is It Good?
There is a lot to love and hate about this issue. On one hand, it’s a thrilling tale of international intrigue involving one of the best (and still unresolved) concepts of the X-Files television show.
On the other hand, the series is beginning to become a little too dependent upon the “LOOK WHO’S BACK FROM THE DEAD NOW!” trope.
With the Lone Gunmen, it was contrived, but greatly appreciated.
With the Cigarette Smoking Man, it was odd, yet intriguing.
With X, it was…just really weird.
This time, however, was the first time the parade of character resurrections elicited a full-on eye roll from me when I saw it.
I trust Joe Harris to make it interesting, but I’d rather he continue to create new characters or draw on ones we haven’t see in forever (like Conrad Strughold) rather than resurrecting another dead all-star every few issues.
I also have to mention that the art in this one just doesn’t feel right. It pains me to say that because Matthew Smith really is a good artist, but his pencils just aren’t a good fit for this type of story. During the shootout with Mulder, the action feels incredibly stilted and plain despite Harris setting a wonderfully frantic tone for the scene.
Although it still wasn’t as thrilling as seeing Mulder be a complete jerk to the customs officials.
Overall, however, this is still a pretty solid issue. The interaction between Mulder and Scully hits all the right notes and the story has quite a bit of potential to be a good one. Let’s just hope that no one else comes back from the dead to try and help move it along.
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