When the storyline for ''Believers'' started with the premiere issue of The X-Files: Season 10 comics, we knew that we were in for a wild ride. It's daunting, really daunting, to approach a subject matter such as the mythology of The X-Files.
The fifth issue came out today and with it the last episode of this particular story arc, but instead of giving closure to situations and wrapping everything up in a tight, pretty green bow, Joe Harris and Chris Carter have opened more than half a dozen doors to situations that promise to keep us entertained for a long time to come, leaving us salivating for more.
Well played, Mr. Harris. Well played.
Click after the jump for the complete review.
Believers #5 brings us many thrills; the first half of the issue is packed with action and the supernatural and sinister feel that Harris has been developing in previous issues.
In this part, Scully and Mulder are still stranded in the middle of the woods at Yellowstone being pursued by the Acolytes. They realize that they've been set up as the Acolytes surround them; think a Nazgul from Lord of The Rings, swirling and hovering around them like dark shadows... well, that's what I pictured anyways. They identify Scully as "The Bringer" and reveal that their objective was to bring them to "The Cradle", a particularly potent place within the park that holds a powerful ecosystem.
In a masquerade play that confuses Mulder as they approach "The Cradle", Deacon (the acolyte that led Scully to this place in the previous issues) shape-shifts to take Scully's form, luring Mulder to a shocking reveal. The delivery of these lines is quite disturbing, as they vow that they will find William's whereabouts and that they have further plans for Scully. The Acolytes cannot be contained nor will they stop trying to achieve their goals.
I don't know if it was just me, but I could imagine the scattered and eerie notes that Mark Snow would combine with the sound of the wind as this scene played in my mind. A chill ran through my veins as this fake Scully licked Mulder's face in a seductively yet pervertedly and sick manner.
Personally, it reminded me of moments in the mythology during Seasons 4 and 5, but it also showed a very noticeable evolution that presents us with some of the nature of these new threats.
While it is understandably hard to convey certain X-Files topics or situations that are so clearly cinematic, I believe that Harris and his team did a good job translating that thrill to the page. Scully and Mulder's encounter with the Acolytes, followed by the very FTF-esque UFO's arrival and the black helicopters flying in ala 'The Truth' this all felt like a gigantic moment that took me by surprise, making me stick my face to the screen in excitement.
Excuse my flaily self, but I just wanted to crawl into that scene.
Certainly, the feel of this first part of the comic lives by the X-Files tradition, raising more questions and providing just enough answers to keep you clinging to the edge of your seat: What happened to the Acolytes? Why did this UFO show up? How can they heal Mulder's wound? What was the purpose of the black helicopters and more importantly what happened to Scully so that now she can't remember? What is the true power of the cradle and what's the importance of it being empty or full?
So.many.questions. So many interpretations.
The second half I felt paid homage to Fight the Future and Season 6; with the dark setting, the meeting with OPR, the aftermath recap to Cassidy but with a twist.
This section of the comic perhaps brought the most "explicit" answers: Scully and Mulder are reinstated at the FBI, Doggett and Reyes are still missing, everyone involved with the X-Files at any point is in danger, the forces against them are unrelenting and Scully is determined to take action to correct that. They're determined to protect William, but still very confused about what took place when they encountered the UFO at Yellowstone.
What struck me as a change of pace, as a sign that Scully has evolved from even the person she was in IWTB, is that she's the one pushing to pursue and protect the truth, regardless of how cautious Mulder seems to be at times. They have a million and one reasons to come back to the fight the future, they may or may not understand or even remember some of them, but none of them are selfish, none or them are less courageous.
Scully's monologue in the board room is the type of thing that made me fall in love with these comics; that tickle to the memory of the Scully that made a resonant connection with millions of girls dreaming to be as kickass as her. Her resolute decision to keep going is what made Mulder sure that she was to be his partner, that she understood the passion that he held towards his mission, and this is something that echoes in his mind as his own determination is challenged.
The truth may be Mulder's quest but Scully is the fuel to that fire.
I've read this part about 10 times now. And I have this policy when I read or watch new things:
1st viewing "“ for the confused excitement.
2nd viewing "“ for the fangirl flails.
3rd viewing "“ for the concentrated analysis.
The additional viewings are for my own greedy enjoyment.
This time it took me more because I found myself almost terrified at what I was seeing; the sinister tint that plagued this scene with CSM, the familiar feeling of the old meetings with the syndicate, the decomposed aftertaste of the man's mental state and then the reveal of his mystery acquaintance... it all brought a sense of dread that left me really hungry for more.
Part of me wants to say that I'm disappointed that the next issue is a new storyline, but another part of me is thrilled that we're back to a world where there are mysteries to be solved, larger than life threats endangering our heroes, and that all of it is wrapped in the delicious veil of The X-Files.
Avi's Thoughts About the Reception of TXF:10
Don't think that we've been completely blind to the comments of both praise and criticism about this new series; the reactions were more than expected, even with such a varied mix in this fandom. I've particularly loved the excitement that every release brings to our community and I am especially happy about how many of you have introduced the show to new fans because of these new editions.
I think with every new X-Files chapter there's always the fear of criticism that said product is not what part of the fandom expects or that it's not produced in the manner that you as a fan would have preferred. The truth of the matter is that this is an incredibly hard task to embark on: pleasing an X-Files fan.
If we're to go by the excitement and incredible sales numbers of the new series, we can clearly see that the comics have been an astounding success for IDW and the creative team behind them, but going deeper into the fandom communities there are still complaints and mixed opinions about the style book that this series took on for their first five issues by the hand of Michael Walsh.
My particular opinion, mine, Avi Quijada's alone, is that this is a style that, while it took me about four pages to get accustomed to, I really enjoyed it. The look and feel of the comics reminded me of very talented storyboarding work, especially if you enjoyed these works on the ComiXology platform.
Maybe I'm biased because I prefer all things filmmaking, and for me this felt like a raw and intense work that instead of turning me off, actually excited me more because of what was expected of me as a reader. Pay attention, imagine, submerge yourself in this reality. The experience of reading these comics so far has been great because the "investigation" doesn't limit itself to the ambiguousness that an X-File brings, but transcends the storytelling, the mystery in front of your eyes. I like my experience this way, so I thank Walsh's and Harris' challenge, because this has made my experience ten times better.
There are still many questions to be answered in the grand scheme of things, including the creative choices by Harris and Carter of bringing back CSM, the Lone Gunmen and even the way Mulder and Scully refer to William. It is my hope that some of these details can continue to be addressed as the series evolves, certainly bringing brand spanking new cases, but also revisiting the old ones that made us fall in love with The X-Files.
Visit your local comic book store to pick up a copy while they last and make sure to preorder issue #6 that comes out in November!
You can also access the comics through ComiXology, and if you want, you can send your questions and comments about the series to