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I usually read something three times: the first for the sheer first encounter, the second for the exploration, and the third to nitpick. If I only read something once, usually it's a bad sign. If I read it nine times in less than three days… you know we have a winner.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read every issue of The X-Files: Season 10 more than three times. I can probably recite some lines by now, but issue #8 is probably the one that crossed every item off my wish list: flashbacks to the Conspiracy, great Mulder and Scully banter, incorporation of old characters in the new time line in a fashion I can totally agree with, and especially… a storyline that had me on the edge of my seat by the last page and made me scream for the next installment.
So, like every Carter/Spotnitz episode from back in the day, right?
Up to this point, many readers had expressed their concern that the new comics had been revisiting characters in scenarios that didn’t quite settle with everyone. My personal belief is that everything is possible in the realm of The X-Files if you can sell it to me convincingly. This issue needed no convincing at all. It exists, therefore it rocks.
Harris manages to channel the voices of our favorite enemies and allies with quite a lot of skill, so much so that it is very easy to imagine you’ve opened a time capsule, pressed play on a previously unaired episode, and William B. Davis is making you squirm with his evil ways. The sinister mood spreads through this issue like wildfire, and reminds me of episodes like The Erlenmeyer Flask, Gethsemane, Two Fathers/One Son and of course, Fight The Future.
Issue #8, titled "Being for the Benefit of Mr. X", takes us to the depths of some of the gruesome experimentation that the Syndicate had been doing to test the vaccine before Mulder is even out of Quantico and its horrific consequences, and how nowadays, the search for a vaccine has lead to a whole different game altogether. Purity is back, not as a generic threat, but one that has been tailor suited to fit particular carriers. The issue also takes a stroll through the political game that has always lead to the cortex of the conspiracy, and delivers the message in quite the refined way.
What this story line promises to continue is a path very important in terms of the new danger that threatens the lives of our heroes. As the masterful cover by Carlos Valenzuela teases, Mr. X makes a comeback. He delivers a final warning before he “parts ways” – the new players have lost their previous fear of repercussions and charge head on, without any hesitation. For these forces in power, the possibility of turning “Mulder’s quest into a crusade” is not something they’re careful to avoid. They will have no holdbacks if it comes to turning him into a martyr.
This is quite the game changer; until now this had been a failsafe for Fox Mulder and one can only imagine that this raises the stakes considerably, exposing them to a myriad of possibilities from every angle. If we feared what the Syndicate and any member of the conspiracy could do in the past, the field is open now to let the fantasies and nightmares run wild.
I especially enjoyed the work of Michael Walsh; I’m a fan of this technique, I find it dark and moody like the Vancouver days and it fits this story like a glove. This seems to be the last issue that the artist will share with Harris, for now at least, and his talents will be missed by this faithful X-Phile.
The RI cover by guest artist Georges Jeanty (with colors by Tariq Hassan) makes a great way to compile the central themes of the issue, with a very accentuated 90’s feel, even to the look of the characters, favoring the early seasons’ looks.
The regular cover by Carlos Valenzuela, as I mentioned before, points the attention more towards the always-contentious relationship between Mulder and Mr. X and the infamous masking tape on the window.
As always, please head over to your local comic book store, and we recommend ordering ahead. Not only will you secure limited edition covers but you'll also be supporting the series and local businesses. If you can’t buy local, you can always go to Comixology and enjoy the issue online.
This coming Wednesday, January 8th 2014, IDW brings us a new issue of The X-Files: Season 10! As someone that has already read the full issue and will be posting a full review early on the 8th, I can tell you that this one is VERY exciting.
The conspiracy oozes out of the pages like a perfectly stuffed cream puff... or, a dissolving shape shifter... Wow, that went weird real fast! But so does this issue. Be prepared for a new ride of secrets and past allies and enemies.
For a preview of the first pages of The X-Files: Season 10 - #8 "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. X", click here. Be warned of sensitive graphics and themes.
Story: Joe Harris - Art: Michael Walsh - Colors: Jordie Bellaire - Letters: Robbie Robbins - Cover: Carlos Valenzuela (Regular) & Georges Jeanty (Ri) - Publisher: IDW
Award winning Francesco Francavilla will be illustrating as cover artist for The X-Files Season 10 as Menton3 takes over as interior artist beginning in issue #10.
Named as one of Comic Alliance's Best Comic Book Artists of 2013, Francesco Francavilla is a self-professed "huge" fan of the show and is sure to bring us many great covers. His body of work includes Doctor Who's Prisoners of Time, Afterlife With Archie, Lone Ranger, Avengers Arena and many more. Comic Alliance interviewed Francesco following the announcement and you can read the entire article here.
Be sure to welcome Francesco to the fandom by following him on Twitter.
Chris Carter is a busy man; he's currently finishing up his pilot for Amazon Studios, "The After", and is working on a new and secretive development for AMC involving conspiracies. MTV's Tami Katzoff recently got the opportunity to speak with him and the interview was packed with quite a few little nuggets of goodness. Read on for some of the highlights.
While it may come as no surprise to X-Philes, Chris talked about a few of the things that amazed him, saying about the 20th anniversary panel at 2013 San Diego Comic Con, "One is that they could fill [the Convention Center's Ballroom 20] to capacity, that's just an amazing thing for me after 20 years."
I think I speak for the fans when I say that we'd do it every day if we could.
He went on, saying, "The second thing is that I was just so — amazed isn't the right word — pleased to see all the people that I worked with having prospered, and their families have grown up, and that was just a very rewarding moment."
When asked about the Breaking Bad spin-off, "Better Call Saul", Carter talked fondly of his own experience spinning off "The X-Files" with "The Lone Gunmen", saying, "I think it's so good and so funny," and while we all wish there was more Byers, Langly and Frohike, Carter had some thoughts on why our beloved spin-off only made it to thirteen episodes saying, "Things were changing right about that time. Reality TV was sneaking in, and right when 'The X-Files' ended there was a kind of change in the landscape." When asked if he had any advice for the makers of "Better Call Saul" he said, "Oh gosh, those people don't need any advice. They all know what they're doing."
Moving on to The X-Files, there were a couple great quotes.
Speaking about "The X-Files: Season 10" comic books, Carter said, "I think they've been doing a really good job. I like that there are characters coming back, they're bringing characters to life, and that tickles me." If you haven't already, pick up a copy of the latest issue which hit the shelves Wednesday and be sure to check out X-Files News' review of it here.
And finally, no interview is complete without the requisite question about a possible XF3 movie. Carter confirmed that if it were to happen, there would be no rebooting, recasting or reimagining, saying, "I can't imagine not doing it with David [Duchovny] and Gillian [Anderson]. For me they are 'The X-Files.'"
Agreed, Mr. Carter.
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?
For more details, go and pick up this issue from your local retailer or shop for an electronic copy at Comixology.
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.