The X-Files: Season 10, #12 "Pilgrims, part 2" is here. This is the kind of issue that makes me wish that we could have two of them per month for this series as the cliffhanger was so effective that I cannot wait for the next one.
The current May issue is the second of the five-part mythology-centered storyline that delves into the core of the grand conspiracy that Harris has developed along with Carter's input. There are many things that are great about this second issue which continues through with the thick setup laid out in the previous issue and picks up on the groundwork presented in the first issues of this series.
In "Pilgrims, part 1" we left off with Mulder in the middle of a shootout, being aided by Krycek of all people. The second part continues with this action-packed sequence with a very delicate outcome that, in my opinion, was handled very smartly and quite in touch with the nature of these characters.
I've chosen this time around to not give such a detailed synopsis of the story, because I really want you to experience it through your own eyes. Almost every page is filled with great reveals that move the story forward effectively, and inform the place that each character has in the narrative.
To make it short, Mulder has discovered that an alien presence might be involved in the attack staged in the previous issue. Krycek is involved in a way that the former agent can't clearly pinpoint but he disappears before Mulder can interrogate him any further, luckily dropping just enough information so that he can tie his comeback to the previous events that occurred in Yellowstone at the beginning of the season. Scully discovers a threatening clue that may not only confirm Mulder's suspicions but also make solving this case an urgent matter before it becomes an unstoppable situation. Unbeknownst to them, AD Morales is hiding her alliance to the darker forces of this conspiracy. But she's also disappointing those above her, who expected Morales to handle and rule over the agent's rogue involvement in the investigation in Saudi Arabia. The end of the issue, which I won't spoil for you, puts Mulder back into one of the worst spots that he has ever had to face since he started this crusade, leaving all of us on the edge of our seats.
Enjoy a preview of the issue HERE.
I found myself greatly satisfied by the twists and turns that this issue presented, and it definitely takes me back to some of the most famous and cherished mythology episodes of the original series. With a fresh setting, it travels a route that has heightened the stakes even more; there's so much on the line now. I loved the classic deadpan that Duchovny brought to Mulder's character seeping through the pages of this issue, and the true-to-character subtle communication between Mulder and Scully was navigated skillfully and in the perfect spots with Scully's wise warnings being overlooked by Mulder as always. In a world where the writer of a comic is the writer/director of these episodes, I believe that Harris would have fit very nicely in the Ten Thirteen's writer's room back at the 20th Century Fox lot.
The art and colors in this issue were also very satisfying for me, even though there was the ONE frame that took me out of the story. (Fandom has trained me to make jokes about Krycek's and Mulder's interactions and I turn into a thirteen year old boy sometimes.)
Matthew Dow Smith does a great job capturing the subtleties in the character's reactions to the outlandish and shocking events of this chapter, exposing their mental state and keeping a great language from panel to panel that merges naturally with Harris' script. I like how in many of the panels the inkwork manages to make use of the game of shadows that the original show taught us to appreciate, drawing the attention to what really matters in a scene. Jordie Bellaire does amazing as always; she's one of the best colorists that IDW has brought to work on their X-Files products because she knows how to create moods without going overboard, keeping a simplicity that communicates effectively and easily capturing that language that goes understated so many times.
There are three covers for this issue: a great regular cover by Francesco Francavilla with Mulder and Scully and of course Krycek's looming presence, among other hidden details; the RI cover - and my favorite - by Mark McHaley with a menacing Krycek strolling the streets of the Saudi Kingdom and a subscription photo cover as usual.
The next issue is titled "Slippery Slopes" - I'll be here, biting on my fingernails, waiting not so patiently.
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