Previously on The X-Files: Season 10… Gibson Praise happened and then all of a sudden, Mulder and Scully’s world turned upside down. No, really. I mean it.
In the last part of last season, the “Elders” multi-parter delivered the ongoing threat that now plagues our heroes’ lives. Separated after Mulder fled Cuba to an unknown destiny and Scully came back to the US to face the music at the FBI, they’re now under Gibson’s constant vigilance and daredevil actions.
To read our recap and review, click after the jump.
The first issue of this new season is entitled “Cantus” - a reference to the name of the organization that now serves as a contractor for the FBI. They have been praised for their efficiency by the agency, though they seem to not be aware of the real threat behind it.
But back to the beginning of this issue. Mulder has been following a group of renegades searching for a downed spy satellite at Zion National Park in Utah; a young bunch with Taylor - a redhead - at its command. Gotta love it. Mulder has been going as Anthony Blake, playing it low key, minding his own business, but that doesn’t prevent him from raising suspicions within the members of the team. A downed satellite was reported to be a Radio Telescope belonging to the Medici 3 program, but they know better. The official information is that the satellite burned re-entering Earth, but their belief is that they can still find useful remains of the satellite before they get caught.
Scully hasn’t received any information from Mulder in the last two months, and she now faces the Office of Professional Review to study her involvement in the case against Mulder and the accusations made after Walter Skinner was forced into administrative leave. ADA Morales sits vigilant as Director Cassidy points out that it is in Scully’s best interest to cooperate with the Bureau to clarify the situation, especially when there are efforts to streamline the X-Files using Cantus’ services. It sounds like an upgrade, like a threat, like they’re calling them an ungrateful bunch. It sounds like they’ve been caught.
Back in Utah, Mulder and the guys find the satellite and try to figure out how to transport it. Mulder and Jasco set up to carry the communication module and the latter begrudges their leader’s womanly bossy ways. But Mulder is on the lookout, wary of the noises around them, a sixth sense calling. Sure enough, even when he’s trying to seem harmless, Jasco has identified Mulder and set him up; he knows that there’s a bounty on his head and a possibility of quick cash. The man attacks Mulder in a mix of paranoia and jealousy, but he’s rescued in the nick of time by a pack of wolves that slash his attacker; they’re being controlled by Gibson. Mulder can’t escape the manic tendencies and grasp of his former ally, not even in the middle of the desert. He communicates telepathically, ordering him to retrieve the communication module from the Medici satellite, while instructing the wolves to take care of the rest of the team. Mulder asks him to stop, to not harm them, stalling his cooperation until he knows of Scully’s situation, but Gibson reminds him that it is better if he just plays along and remembers who his true friends are.
In Washington, Cassidy reveals that they’re in the know of the details of Scully’s trip to Cuba, including the fact that she trespassed and engaged in a series of acts that can be classified as being against the US government. Just as Scully sets to try and explain her actions, she’s interrupted by Cassidy. She explains in a rather clinical tone how the members of the panel are slowly losing consciousness, falling asleep under a spell. Gibson has infiltrated their minds as well, and has started killing the woman while at it. Scully calls 911 and explains that Cassidy is having an ischemic attack. The paramedics are on their way… and Scully takes advantage of the moment to take the files with the proof of her trip out of Director Cassidy’s hands.
Meanwhile, Mulder meets the Lone Gunmen in Beaverton, Utah. Frohike tries to convince him to just apologize to Scully and go back home. While Mulder claims that it is a little more complicated than just an apology, his friend points out that he’s the only fugitive in this situation with a significant other waiting for his return. Langly manages to trace part of the components of the satellite to Cantus, the “rising star in the Military-Industrial and Governmental-Influence complexes”. According to their findings, the satellite was studying something like a pulsar or a star that went supernova. It received a signal while in orbit, but it will take them sometime to decipher it. The fact of the matter is that the signal clips out after
15 minutes of it’s start, then presumably the satellite came down or was shot down by enemy forces. The fact is that it wasn’t just an accident and its demise could actually have been product of a self-destruct mechanism. In any case, Mulder considers this his redeeming ticket.
Gibson pays Scully a visit, and she demands to know where Mulder is, but the man claims that not only is Mulder protecting her but also helping him achieve what he needs to do. Scully will have to help him achieve his objectives as well.
The Lone Gunmen offer to hold on to the communication components of the satellite for Mulder, but he wants to minimize their exposure to Gibson’s antics. They also offer to relay a message to Scully about his whereabouts, but Mulder is sure that one way or another, she’s about to find out about his current situation. They promise to keep in touch, after Frohike advises Mulder to get rid of the beard he’s been sporting to help his undercover persona. He complies, but notes that until they meet again everyone is going to have to trust him on his instincts.
Back at the X-Files office, Scully sits with a folder that Gibson has given her; the familiar house and the familiar daunting faces of the Peacock family.
The X-Files: Season 11 is off to a good start when it comes to reaping the seeds planted in the previous season. With a first issue dedicated to establishing where everyone stands and the objectives of their quest, we’re given a somewhat clear map of what their roles will be in the future. A promise of a reunion between Mulder and Scully soon? Perhaps. They are definitely at the mercy of Gibson’s wishes… and that’s quite the threat when no one is really clear of what his ultimate objective is. His skewed perception of loyalty, reality, boundaries and the greater good, will be something that will manipulate both of his former allies because of their emotional ties to him.
It bothers me to an extent that Mulder is so detached of his need to check in with Scully, to make it part of his plan, though I understand that Gibson controls it all and it can be a risk. At the same time, maybe this is something that Mulder can allow himself now that he knows that he has been wrong in thinking that Gibson doesn’t track his every move. Part of me thinks that this situation could be a lot easier if they decided to cooperate with Gibson, all the while setting him up to prevent him from going too far with his vengeance. Keep your enemies closer, isn’t that what they say? Especially an enemy that is hard to hate.
I’m curious as to how this season will or will not merge with what will be the television show’s revival. We’ve heard in the past that while Chris Carter recognizes the work being done by IDW and Joe Harris, but that these storylines won’t be part of the revival’s timeline. That doesn’t quite mean that Joe Harris couldn’t merge realities on his own side of things and that could be a really interesting proposal.
I’m also expectant as to how this new season will bring the other players into the narrative. One of the things that I craved so much was a bigger participation from Doggett and Reyes, and also from Skinner. And even when the William storyline is of limited access to Harris, I hope that we can elaborate on it.
This issue has five covers: a photo cover for subscribers and the rest original works by menton3, Bryan Miller, Miran Kim, and Andrew Currie and Mat Lopes. Art continues to be done by Matthew Dow Smith and colors by Jordie Bellaire. Letters by Chris Mowry, and as always, edited by Denton Tipton and executive produced by Chris Carter.