In the second issue of IDW’s new The X-Files comic series set during the 2016 revival, Mulder and Scully head to the Texas border to investigate the gruesome deaths of a truckload of Mexican immigrants. Read after the jump for our review of “Los Dios de Los Muertos” Part One.
For his second outing into The X-Files revival universe, Joe Harris steps away from the show’s convoluted mythology and into a classic Monster-of-the-Week story, which also happens to be the first two-parter for the new series. “Los Dios de Los Muertos”, which for you non-Spanish speakers translates as “The Gods of The Dead”, begins in Oaxaca, Mexico where two children, Rosa, and Enrico (who judging by his outfit is apparently little Timmy from Jurassic Park reincarnated), rush to board a train headed for the U.S. border. They are attempting to flee someone named Justiniano who they fear, “will not take [their] leaving well”.
The children are clearly correct in their assessment because the train is quickly stopped by armed cartel enforcers who are searching for them. The other migrants on the train do not give away the children's hiding place, apparently in fear of something worse than the cartel. Behind the enforcers, a pair of glowing faces with red eyes and pointed teeth hover in the shadows above the children. The next day, a truck is found in Laredo, Texas. Inside is a bloodbath filled with the remains of 37 migrant workers. There is only one survivor, Rosa.
Mulder and Scully arrive in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and are soon met by Sheriff Mendoza who explains that trucks filled with “human cargo” are nothing new in his area, but that the scene inside this truck is entirely alien to him. Investigating inside the truck, Mulder finds what appear to be deep claw marks and a handful of marigolds, a flower that “figure[s] prominently in Mexican Day of the Dead rituals guiding the spirits”, which he passes to Scully.
Mulder soon links the incident to Santa Muerta, the Death Angel “fetishized” by Mexican cartels. Scully worries about the traumatized young girl left behind after the slaughter because Rosa has drawn pictures of the same angel hovering over the migrant train. Mulder, however, is convinced that Rosa's older brother Enrico is somehow connected to the incident, and sets out to find him. Out at their hire car, Mulder finds a marigold lying on the ground. As he sets off to find Enrico, who is alive and has made his way to a large southwest style villa, we spot the same glowing eyes and sharp teeth staring out from the rear of the car.
I much preferred this issue to the season debut of The X-Files 2016, but I also think I would probably have liked it better if it wasn’t a two-parter. For me, the story feels slightly too dragged out and once again I couldn’t ignore the heavy-handed attempts to throw in up-to-date references to current events in order to remind us what decade it is. This time, it was George Zimmerman getting a mention. Toto, I've a feeling we’re not in the 90s anymore...
Regardless, the evil smiling faces in the shadows had me thoroughly creeped out (and reminded of Welcome to Night Vale’s Smiling God) and once again I find myself concerned for Mulder’s well-being until the next issue.
Don't forget to pick up your own copy of The X-Files 2016 #2, either digitally or from your local comic book store.