Jeez! We're so behind with our usual sections that this time around we're delivering two reviews in one, comprising The X-Files: Season 11 issue #4, titled “Home Again - Part 3,” and issue #5 titled "My Name is Gibson."
"...Part 3" opens with the recount of how the Peacocks settled into their new home after the events in Home, Pennsylvania. The Mother claims that they don’t need much; just some walls to continue with their legacy. She admits that their plans were wrong - they couldn’t escape their past - but her pride is far from being weak: “...You can’t keep a Peacock down for very long…” she claims.
Last we saw our heroes, Gibson was having a field day with Mulder’s psyche and caused him to lower his guard, allowing Edward Peacock to attack him as he climbed the Cantus drilling tower and tried to attach the Medici component to the top. The Police were on their way to the scene; authorities were still looking for him and Scully, and the Peacocks and everyone in range are catching the live broadcast of the Police action on TV.
For our recaps and review, click after the jump!
Scully gets to Nebraska, where she runs into AD Morales, questioning her presence in the manhunt operation. Scully fights back, questioning the AD’s motivations and her interest in Mulder and her time on The X-Files. Morales knows more about Cantus than she leads on and Scully is done with her secrets. Her boss won’t have any of Scully’s questions, rushing to plead for her discretion, and that’s the reason why Scully claims she made it all the way to Nebraska on her own. The Peacocks aren’t just your run of the mill killers.
Meanwhile, Mulder makes his way through the cornfields he fell into when he lost his grip from the drilling tower. Cops are looking for him and he hides away. The FBI heads leading the operation followed the leads up to the Peacocks house and now they’re in the know that they’re close to another set of fugitives. Mulder’s proximity to the location could be related to the files he stole from the FBI. Morales warns the fugitives may be hostile and announces their presence to the occupants of the house as they plan to search the premises and she requests their cooperation.
While this unfolds, Scully stands to the side in the darkness when something alerts her senses; a presence in the shadows that approaches her. She tackles the body and it hits the ground. It’s Mulder, who makes a joke about leaving the rough play for a less public setting.
The Feds continue to call out to the Peacocks requesting entrance. The mother appeases her children as we step into a flashback where we learn that she’s carried seventy-three and one half children. Insert groan here. Many of them died, but the Peacocks are resilient. She preens at Edmund; he was her favorite and the father of their latest flock. He’s dependable and has sacrificed for the family.
Mulder explains to Scully that initially he’d thought Gibson had been leading him to random places, but he’s sure now that the man has a strategy. Something big related to the memory chipset they extracted from the Medici satellite, and Mulder suspects that he’s communicating with whatever and whoever came in contact with that mission before it failed. They need to learn everything they can about the program and its link to Cantus; Mulder wants to expose their relation to the Department of Justice. He’s on a roll but Scully doesn’t see where the Peacocks come into play. Mulder admits that he thought Gibson just wanted to rub his face in his inability to solve this case years ago, but in reality he just wanted to draw everyone’s attention to the Peacocks, use it as a distraction. Scully points out that there’s something amiss… why isn’t Mulder hurt? He fell off the top of an oil rig. He can’t even explain it himself. Then it dawns on her: Gibson’s motivations might still be to avenge Mulder’s wronged reputation, in a way. The Peacocks and he have something in common, they’ve “scraped by in the shadows” and Gibson is about to shine a light on them, bringing all this attention to the inbred family and Mulder’s life’s work. But what they’re not accounting for is Edmund Peacock’s response. “What happens when you can’t run any longer…?” Scully asks, and figures it out. It’s a trap.
Scully rushes away, screaming to AD Morales as the inbred man sits down placidly and sets the steps in motion to blow up their home as the Feds enter the house with a battering ram. The explosion pushes them away as we learn that the Peacocks cannot run anymore; the Mother’s claim from inside the house as it’s rapidly being engulfed in flames. She wants to bear witness of their demise as they die inside their home, on their own terms.
Mulder is distraught; the Peacocks had children inside the house who will undoubtedly die. He feels Gibson used him to pin this on him, and vows that he will find him and bring him down for his actions. But Scully has a different idea: what if he was actually trying to help him? Mulder should have called her to come help him, but Mulder is too far gone to see these subtleties, too into his thoughts and his thirst. Scully points a gun at him in a desperate attempt to make him stop. For Mulder, Gibson may not be talking to them right now, but he’s still making statements through his actions and most likely watching closely for the best moment to strike.
The issue starts at Clark Air Base in the Philippines in 1991. A young Gibson Praise watches TV while his mother tries to cut through some bureaucracy over the phone. He states that “something bad is going to happen,” and his mother dismisses the comment as they get ready to leave. These are troubled times in the Philippines, with a volcano ready to erupt, and a single mother caring for him, always worried for him. They were abandoned by his father, someone who was already leery of Gibson’s faculties. Praise waxes poetic about how one’s experiences are what shapes us.
At the Bureau of Immigration, his mother argues with an employee. She’s seeking protection; the base is closing down, and she doesn’t trust the armed forces. Gibson sits patiently as the crowded and hot office buzzes with activity and people’s frustrations. Everyone is scared of the current situation, fearing the wrath of god.
A mysterious man approaches him, cutting through the crowd. He knows he can hear people’s thoughts. There’s something different about this man, his mind is not readable to Gibson. His mother comes looking for him, they’re letting them stay as refugees in the bureau, but Gibson is now very aware that he’s being sought after by dark forces.
In the present, Mulder and Scully wait at the North Platte Regional Airport in Nebraska. He’s cuffed now, under Federal custody. She clings to his success finding the Peacocks and how he should get credit for that catch, but Mulder is more grim about it. He’s convinced he’s been manipulated for Gibson’s grand plan. He resents the fact that the Peacocks burned themselves in front of the authorities during the raid and thinks Scully is naive seeing any positive in this situation and believing anything that Gibson has said. But she hasn’t spoken to him in months.
AD Morales shows up with the Federal Marshals that escort Mulder into his plane and back to Washington to face the music. He hasn’t been charged yet, for the DOJ is aware of his detention. Scully is surprised by Morales, claiming that there are special considerations to be made in Mulder’s case, as he has run “afoul of very powerful and exceedingly dangerous forces.” This is surely pointing out to Cantus’ grip over government agencies. Morales seems to continue being uncomfortable with the private organization’s involvement with the government, noting that it might not be a relationship that seeks the pursuit of justice, but it’s still up to them to maintain the actual objective of the FBI.
Meanwhile, Mulder boards the flight back to the capital. As they take off, he tries socializing in his usual Mulder!snark, and requests to go to the bathroom to one of the marshals that looks suspiciously like this one writer… The other man walks the disgraced agent to the back of the plane as the pilots chat about the system status of the plane. All is as it should be, but as the copilot tries to call in their position and fuel levels, he starts getting into a daze and the pilot makes fun of him, not realizing the situation is actually serious.
We continue with Gibson Praise’s story back when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991. His mother’s desire was to stay away from the US even when he could have been repatriated with the American troops as they escaped. She feared that if they went back, he’d be exploited for his faculties. After she passed away, during their trip to recover their belongings at the abandoned camp where they lived, he was found by a set of locals. He communicated with the mysterious man that he encountered earlier; he’d promised that they’d see each other soon, something he really desires.
Back to the present, Morales and Scully are about to board their plane now that the airport has been cleared for departures. In some way, what was inferred through the copilot incident. Gibson continues his narrative, describing how people would seek him out in time and experiment on him trying to understand and control his faculties. He’d always be chased and sought. As Scully finishes freshening up in the restroom before the flight, a janitor enters and is being manipulated by Gibson. He announces that Mulder is in danger but doesn’t explain much else before he returns the man to his right mind.
At the plane, the copilot walks to the coach cabin, bypassing the marshals and hands Mulder a note that he’s been told to deliver. “These are not your friends, Mulder” - it says. Immediately, two of the marshals groan in their seats as they seem to fall unconscious. Gibson continues to explain how the range of his powers wavers; the copilot struggles under his dominance, the remaining marshall grows uneasy and takes out an igniter baton but the copilot strikes first, dominated by Gibson’s powers and the device falls to the floor sparking the carpets and setting the area on fire. In the midst of the struggle, the copilot reveals that the marshal is one of the faceless agents. Gibson continues to wax poetic about how the mysterious man was right, and they’d see each other again. The alien approaches Mulder and just as he’s about to strike, the marshal resembling the writer that shall not be named, shoots the alien in the neck, saving Mulder.
Gibson continues to control the copilot who extinguishes the fire just in time as he informs Mulder that his goal is getting more difficult, appealing to those aspects that they have in common, like losing it all and having to fight back for their mission. But Mulder won’t fall for it, he blames it for what’s going on. Gibson’s planning Mulder’s escape; there’s no record of his transport, and he’s controlling the crew.
Back at the airport, Morales and Scully prepare to finally board their own flight. She tells the AD that she’s not so sure Mulder’s flight will make it to DC. She doesn’t elaborate, but she’s resolute to solve this situation with or without her help. In between the crowd, Gibson looks on from a distance, delivering the following: “It’s never one tragedy that defines us. We are each the product of myriad experiences - good, bad, and life-altering. While what we’re capable of is something we only learn in our worst moments. And for which we save for our finest hour.”
This arc continues to keep me highly intrigued and entertained, even when in a few spots of the fifth issue I thought that there were a couple of leaps that I struggled to understand, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
The fourth issue has the most solid dramatic ensemble of the two, in my opinion. I thoroughly enjoyed the sequence that led to Edmund setting the house on fire and Mama Peacock was strikingly scary in just how her voice still makes me nauseated. If you thought that because these are comics the themes would be restrained, you were wrong. These are The X-Files after all.
What I enjoy from this series besides Mulder and Scully’s voices being genuine, is that it keeps winding through the dark story behind Gibson’s thirst and delving into these stories that continue to be fascinating even when they were discarded in the past. I wish we could actually see a show where the stories of all these underdogs, of all the unexplored characters could see the light of day. In this day and age, those are actually the reboots and remakes we need.
I found it amusing that Joe Harris managed to make a cameo in his own comic book, and if the scenes on the plane were part of the movie, I’m sure that it would be in the most amazing likes of Air Force One. Or that’s how I’d like them to be.
But I do have issues at times with certain aspects, like the way Gibson talks; it might be intentional, part of the cloak and dagger that surrounds him but it pulls me away from the story, even when I hate to accept that. It’s getting to be too blurry, too elaborated for my liking. I’m not sure either if Scully lies intentionally or if this is a faux pas, as she claims that she hasn’t talked to Gibson in months, yet he communicated with her in issue #3. That happens just a few days ago in this timeline. I know, I’m being nit picky.
Both regular covers for both #4 and #5 are my favorites and Matthew Dow Smith and Jordie Bellaire continue to keep me very happy with the consistency and artistry behind the colors and art of these issues.
Don’t forget to pick up the next issue and also the X-Mas Special this month at your local comic book store. As usual, be kind and drop a line to the crew behind this production by emailing them at