This belated review corresponds to The X-Files: Season 11 #3 published by IDW the week of NYCC, Oct. 8th, 2015.
Previously on Season 11, Mulder has been visiting the Peacocks, or being held hostage, depending who you ask. The truth is that our favorite G-Man is in the hands of some really kinky deviants. Scully has been looking for him and at the same time trying to avoid Gibson's mind games. Cantus has become a bigger threat than they first thought. AD Morales might be onto them and the whole ordeal, while negotiating with these forces herself.
Now on with "Home Again. Part 2".
“Home Again. Part 2” takes us back to Indiana County, Pennsylvania in 1986. A dark and snowy scene at the Shelton’s Christmas Tree Farm and a family wagon is parked astray. A young man spots a young sprout, definitely not what you would call a great Xmas tree, but he’s taken by it. He wants to take it home, when an older man strikes him hard on the back of his head. This is his father, a bullying man that makes insinuations about how much time this young man spends with hogs. As you may assume, these two are Edmund Peacock and his late father. The older man despises his choice; it’s not a tree worthy of a Peacock home. “A Peacock is s’posed to be an elegant, respect-getting’ beast!” but his three sons aren’t making the cut for him at all, being too ugly and stupid for his standards.
Mother Peacock cuts in on her husband’s depreciative rant, ushering the other two young men away to pick a big tree for their father. Edmund remains kneeling in the snow, and his mother calls out to him. They should stick themselves, she says. The mother calls out to sacrifices for the sake of the family, and it sounds ominous. “Nothing is thicker than blood.”
After the father has tied their tree to the car, begrudging and pissed off, he orders the boys to walk home in the snow while they think about their responsibilities; he’s not really expecting much of them. He just seems happy to get rid of them for a while and have a “proper holiday” but his wife seems nothing but regretful. As they drive down the slippery roads, he turns on the radio and “What a Wonderful World” starts, cut off by static at times. The father continues to put down his sons for their shortcomings, berating and wishing for a new family and a better home to come back to. They say that you’re stuck with family until you die, and Mr. Peacock proves that theory when as he fiddles with the radio he loses the control of the car and fails to see pigs scattered on the road before him. They veer off the road and slide down a cliff.
The boys get to the scene, but it’s too late for their father. They pick their mother out of the wreckage as she directs them, and we hear the last verses of an otherwise lovely holiday song.
Back to the present at Garden Country, Nebraska. Evening has slowly drifted into night as Mother Peacock regales Mulder with how Edmund became the patriarch of their family. Taking the place of his father, the product obviously has not always been successful, and now his fertile years are behind him. But the family must continue to propagate, she claims. She still bears the responsibility “with vigor and pride” and she gathers that Mulder will fit their needs, even if he’s an aggressor to their ways and isn’t as handsome as her former suitors. Yes, you read that right.
He’ll do, even if he already has a “mating partner” – someone should give this woman a copy of the latest X-Phile Gossip Column. Don’t worry, Mulder is quick to clarify for all of us; he swears he meant no intrusion, and that his “Mating Partner” – Ahem, Scully – isn’t “exactly sure she fits that role.” I’m going to get to this later.
Mulder has no idea as to why he’s there or what he’s supposed to be doing, when the deformed kiddos mess with his bag and take the piece of the Medici satellite. It buzzes, startling everyone as mother Peacock cries for him to shut it down.
Mulder is baffled; the piece isn’t connected to a power source at all. Molly points out that the drills on the nearby field are glowing, and they’ve never done that before. Their neighbors aren’t part of any gas drilling company. Mother Peacock orders Edmund and him to check it out.
Meanwhile in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, Scully settles in with the news on TV. She turns up the volume, perhaps trying to dull Gibson’s ability to read her thoughts. The TV anchors announce a nice evening before turbulent weather hits later in the week, an omen perhaps. She takes out the drive in the envelope that AD Morales gave her in the hall earlier and plugs it into her computer. The doorbell rings, but no one is there… well, not physically. As the doorbell continues to ring throughout the house, she finds the TV volume being manipulated, the lights flickering, and then Gibson’s booming voice calling her on her attempts to hide from him.
The file has loaded on her laptop. It’s a memorandum: Cantus’ employee handbook and protocols. She is irate and slams the computer against the wall in a fit when she catches the scrambled and cut off information of authorities responding to a call regarding a manhunt in Nebraska.
Cut to the cornfields surrounding the drills by the Peacocks’ home. Mulder is trying to get through to Edmund and what he once thought to be the chance to have a happy family life, only that it’s not. While climbing up one of the towers, Mulder calls on Gibson, heckling about how this is a bad plan: the Peacocks can’t be their allies, they don’t trust anyone but themselves and don’t feel pain. They really have no frailties that way. So why did really Gibson send him there?
Gibson tunes in then. He guesses that Mulder has already realized that this tower is an antenna and that he’s supposed to hook up the Medici array so that it continues to work “as it was designed to.” At the same time, he’s surprised by a “lack of selflessness” – he’d thought that by bringing him face to face with the Peacocks he would be giving him another chance to close this case. But Mulder is more interested in Gibson’s intentions; maybe he isn’t that naïve anymore. The man wants to know who’s been communicating with his former ally, but Gibson won’t budge, even when he’s supposedly been preparing Mulder for this knowledge.
In the meantime, the news is already broadcasting Mulder’s sighting in Nebraska. Scully, the Peacocks, and everyone else in range see the report and the police rushes to the scene.
Gibson congratulates Mulder for his achievements and helping him out with his plan, celebrating how the authorities won’t believe a word he says, even when he doesn’t understand why he won’t take credit for their schemes. Lastly, he blindsides him by informing that not only are the Peacocks “impervious to pain,” but also of his mind control. Mulder realizes what this means just a second too late when Edmund slaps the Medici chip board out of his hands and in the process, Mulder’s grasp slips and he falls to the ground, several feet below.
I do have to say I don’t know where this story is going, and this is a good thing, I really dislike predictability. Following from its previous two issues, Joe Harris’ story feels like it’s advancing by leaps on Mulder’s POV. He’s discovered the story behind Peacock senior, plus the real intentions behind Gibson’s ploy to get him here.
The balance is tilted when it comes to Scully’s POV. While I’m sure that the memo she received from AD Morales will be crucial in later issues, I would have liked a little more action on her side. At least she now knows Mulder’s whereabouts… along with the rest of the very inconvenient law enforcement.
My favorite moment of this issue was actually Mulder’s climb; his snark and disregard for Gibson’s ways was not only enjoyable but also I could totally see it on screen. The Peacock’s backstory surprised me in a way that I found myself pitying Edmund Peacock and the abuse that the boys had also been subject to. Monsters creating monsters.
I found Scully’s outburst a bit over the top for her usual responses, especially when this was an asset that was just randomly given to her and not something that she had shown to have grown expectations about. Alas, I could see how she could have imagined this would be something that would lead her to a definite way out for Mulder, even if she hasn’t thoroughly examined this tip yet.
My point of contention with matters discussed in this issue would be Mulder’s doubt that Scully would consider herself his “mating partner”. As grotesque as I find the use of that term, because it reduces humans to animals, the meaning behind it has more layers than just procreation. The fact that we’re revisiting this dance puts me off. I don’t know what else has to happen for this doubt to be put to rest, as they’ve literally lived more together than a regular run of the mill married couple would have. They surpass that experience, so if you’re going to tell me that “mating partner” falls short, then I might agree with you. Then again, there's the revival, and I won't spoil you even more.
The art by Matthew Dow Smith and colors by Jodie Bellaire excel in this issue. I really enjoyed their collaboration with Harris to tell the story in interesting shots that don’t feel gimmicky and take me out of the story. I mean, I read this issue in an airport and I was glued to the screen. The dark hues add on to the sinister themes; the flashback to 1986 is my favorite sequence.
The best cover this month, in my opinion, is Joe Corroney’s Artist’s Edition Incentive Cover with a great nostalgia take that makes light of the themes. Then comes the subscription cover by Brian Miller in the same vein of the previous red rendition and issue #2, and then menton3’s regular cover, along with a blank cover for subscribers.
As usual, my invitation is to help the comic producers bring on more productions like this one, so support them by subscribing and shopping at your local comic book store. You can send your impressions to
Stay tuned for our reviews for #4 to be published tomorrow and for #5 coming out on Wednesday!