Chris Carter said it best when he claimed that no one really dies on The X-Files, unless you’re Teena Mulder… and even then, I’m sure I could find someone that could debate it, or Melissa Scully… I could be opening a can of worms here.
The fact of the matter is that Flukeman is one of those ever-terrifying characters that you never forget, no matter how much you try, especially when you brush your teeth or think about your city’s sewer system.
“Hosts,” part two, concludes the storyline that began in issue #6, with Mulder and Scully back at the FBI and trying to “close the books” on stray cases such as the infamous Flukeman.
This installment begins by illustrating the backstory that Harris has conceived to explain the existence of our favorite humanoid parasite. Flukey’s origins seem to date back to 1986, and the Chernobyl era in Ukraine; a worker is assigned to assist on a dangerous operation at the plant’s sewer system, but is left to die, drowned by the nuclear waste. His body mutates with the flatworms present in the area and so the king of the mutant taeniae is born.
In present time, Mulder has been attacked by the mutant infestation that has swarmed Martha’s Vineyard, but he manages to survive, assisted by the local sheriff. Mulder unknowingly saves the day, and he’s nursed back to health by Scully, but the question still hangs in the air: is Flukey really dead this time?
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What called out to my attention was that this storyline reminded me a lot of the Black Oil storylines, including its presence in “Fight The Future”, and also the style and structure of episodes such as “Agua Mala”, “Brand X”, “Deadalive” and “Tunguska” – partly because Scully is the ever knowing healer, but also because of that “grey feeling” that a lot of us identify as the “Vancouver texture”.
Whether or not this was intentional on Harris’ part, he did a great job capturing the cloudiness and mood of those early season episodes. Scully’s tone, as always, feels natural, and convalescent Mulder reminds me of his time in Triangle, while infused with a bit more of Duchovny’s style. Casagrande and Califano brought very interesting visual language to this issue, and the colorists – Florean and Cuomo – truly portrayed that early X-Files feel for me and it pleased me greatly.
I always make a brief comment about the cover art and I’m very pleased by this issue in that regard. Valenzuela’s work delivers the mood and subtlety that we’re used to getting every month, and I’m particularly happy with the shadow work that gives texture and mystery to the dark setting, instead of just a plain background. The work on the character’s expressions is also quite refined. The second cover, by C.R. Wilson III, also presents us with great shadow and texture work, and actually reminds me of vintage circus signage art; I think it’s fun and different. It makes me wonder: what if Flukey were part of the “Humbug” reality?
This issue delivered more effectively an extensive amount of information in comparison to the previous one, in my opinion, and perhaps a different level of maturity when it comes to how this theme was treated – I’m a sucker for vintage, sue me.
When it comes to how The X-Files: Season 10 has tackled continuing the X-Files universe, the series has its advocates and its opponents, we’ve talked about it before, and I can understand how it’s hard to comply with reopening doors that were closed. In my previous review I mentioned that I approached this “revisit” to the Flukeman story with reserve, because is one of my favorite characters, and while I think it could be plausible for this story to exist in the X-Files world, and I’m satisfied with the peek into this possible scenario, but I wonder if it isn’t time to see new monsters come visit this new opportunity we have to flesh out brand spanking new X-Files apart from any theme or topic that might have been previously presented in the original series and movies.
The X-Files: Season 10, #7 – Hosts, Part 2 of 2 comes from Joe Harris’ pen, and as always is Executive Produced by Chris Carter, with cover art by Carlos Valenzuela and Charles Paul Wilson III. Art by Elena Casagrande with Silvia Califano, colors by Arianna Florean with Azzurra M. Florean, and color assisted by Valentina Cuomo. Letters by Neil Uyetake and Gilberto Lazcano, and edited by Denton J. Tipton.