Step right up for the recap and review of The X-Files #8 – Came Back Haunted, Part Three.
Last we saw Mulder he had traveled to Hungary, where he was conscripted into a work camp and overcome by yet to be explained…. beings? Visions? Ghosts from the past? I really have no idea. Meanwhile, back in DC, Scully discovered a link between a terrorist attack and a recently investigated mall shooting while Ben-Brahim is trying to pick her up under the guise of a rescue mission for Mulder.
We open in Hungary at the work camp. Mulder is hearing voices and his eyes glow orange.
“We remember. As you were taken. Now returned.” The voices are vague and I’m yet to have a clue what they are trying to get across.
The men at the camp are being worked hard, with both promises of great opportunities and menacing threats. The voices continue to speak and the mood is dark. A man steps forward to accuse Mulder of asking questions. I don’t recall any questions though and this seems a little out of left field but let’s go with it for the moment.
The leader of the work camp seems to be about to beat the ever-loving snot out of Mulder but just then… lights emanate from the chests of the workers and the leader alike.
“Old ones rise. Old ones returned,” the voices say.
Mulder’s accuser falls to the ground, looking stunned and aghast.
“Old ones called. Now returned,” he says. “Old ones prepare for holes in the sky.
Mulder looks skeptical and a little less concerned than he probably should be.
We cut to the credits and join Scully midflight on her way to rescue Mulder with Ben-Brahim.
It’s in the air that Brahim decides to let Scully in on the fact that he doesn’t exactly know where Mulder is and that he has an “idea where he’s been.” You can feel the skeptibrow™ though Scully’s back is turned.
He tries to mansplain to her that she couldn’t possibly understand the threat they are facing.
“Try me,” Scully replies. That’s my girl.
He informs her of a human trafficking situation which flew below the radar of all the international agencies and that these men returned from their labors… changed. They are being exposed to something in the earth and it compels them to do terrible things. It makes them aggressive and paranoid, and a danger to both themselves and others.
Scully recalls a previous X-file but the captain interrupts her thoughts over the intercom. Something is not right.
The captain emerges from the cockpit with telltale orange eyes, wielding a fire extinguisher and rambling that, “you’ve seen them, looking back at us…like holes…”
The pilot then goes in for the attack and Ben-Brahim foolishly tries to protect Scully. He’s rewarded for his efforts with a crack from the extinguisher but Scully springs into action, high kicking the mad pilot like a badass ninja. She makes the noises and all.
The pilot recovers enough to go for the fire extinguisher again and begins cracking it against the plane.
“They’re watching us all,” he says, while Scully and Ben-Brahim worry about the integrity of the plane should he break the pressure valve. Not surprisingly the extinguisher explodes and a hole is blown out of the side of the plane.
On that cliffhanger, we cut to Hungary where weirdness is still happening.
“Together,” the workers chant.
The leaders of the work camp are in something of a panic. There’s a hole in the ground and there has been no word from the mysterious squad. Meanwhile, somebody has to tell the “benefactors” what has happened and nobody seems too eager to do that.
“Attack. Kill them all,” chant the zombie-like refugees.
One of the masked leaders makes the call and is ordered to burn it all.
The refugees continue to chant about knowing all and old ones and holes in the sky as the whole site, which has been rigged to explode, blows.
Mulder takes this as his cue to appear and asks into the ether what they know about him. “I won’t let you leave,” he says, picking up a shard of metal and bringing it to his eye.
But the “old ones” won’t let him. They are now free.
To the sound of screams at the work site, we cut back to Scully. She’s amazed to watch as the airplane repairs itself. Ben-Brahim isn’t in a mood to answer many of her questions, though, because he’s got a dead pilot and co-pilot to deal with. He wonders if Scully will do the honors of moving the co-pilot and joining him at the helm. He reminds her that Mulder is still very much in danger, which produces some Scully-angst while reiterating that Scully doesn’t know what the mysterious forces are capable of.
She might not know exactly what they are dealing with, but she does know that they came after Ben-Brahim, and she calls him out on it.
“The ground may have shifted,” he says, “but some things are more clear than you might realize.”
I, for one, am glad someone has some idea of what’s going on because I’m still dazed and confused.
We quickly shift to Mulder as an unseen person discovers him in the bushes. They claim he’s “one of them” and as Mulder protests, his blindfold is put back in place.
The issue ends on a panel showing a partially buried sign. It reads- Strughold Mining Company.
Dun, dun, DUN!
Overall, I’m having a hard time with this arc. It has glimmers of greatness and what seems to be an interesting story but at the same time, I find myself growing bored. There’s too many vagaries, too many repeated panels showing refugees mumbling nonsense and the excitement I felt in part one has all but disappeared.
By far, I am enjoying Scully’s side of the story more than Mulder’s and that is probably because even though she hasn’t done much, her spark is still there as she rolls her eyes and heavily sighs at Ben-Brahim’s attempts to impress her. A possessed Mulder however… is rather boring. I really wanted to love this series but I’m struggling.
I hold out hope that the final issue will explain an awful lot and bring our dynamic duo back together to do some ass kicking and name taking.
As always, I have no complaints about the art. Matthew Dow Smith creates a mood with his features and Jordie Bellaire complements him well with the choice of coloring.
There are only two covers this month. A subscription cover featuring and angst-ridden Scully in her unfortunate Season 10 hairpiece and an absolutely delightful regular cover by Menton3. In that one, a determined Scully ponders life out the window of a jet.
See you next month for the Came Back Haunted finale!
The X-Files #8 - “Came Back Haunted” Part Three is available at your local comic book retailer now.