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When last we saw them, Mulder was trapped inside an ancient Aztec city in Alaska with a cannibal even crazier than Hannibal Lecter, and Scully was stuck outside in the freezing snow attempting to orchestrate their rescue. Read after the jump to find out how our favourite FBI agents escape from their latest predicament as we take a look at the conclusion to "Silent Cities of The Mind".

Title: Silent Cities of The Mind Part Two
Writer: Stefan Petrucha
Illustrator: Charles Adlard
Published: September 1995
Currently Available:X-Files Classics Volume 1


9 CoverSynopsis:
We open on a group of soldiers trooping through the beautiful Alaskan landscape at dawn following the distress call made by Scully last issue. As they approach the correct coordinates the immense Aztec city appears before them however there's no time to marvel at its beauty, their leader instead announces that it will have to be destroyed. Inside the city Mulder is where we left him at last issue's cliffhanger: face-to-face with the Aztec builder. The man charges at him screaming in Mexica, but suddenly begins speaking English when he realises Mulder cannot speak his language.

Back outside. Scully, in a display of trust for the government that's naive even for season two, waves down the attention of the approaching squad. The soldiers spot her and their leader gives a short yet somewhat menacing speech about her role in leading them to the city. He then orders a soldier to kill her, revealing himself to be none other than General Shadenfreud whom we last saw in the "Firebird" story arc (issues 4 - 6). Shadenfreud is now disfigured with scarring covering the left-hand side of his face thanks to his attempt at killing the firebird. The scarring matches that of the old shaman Khobka whom we met in the same arc. Luckily for Scully his soldiers are about as good a shot as the Imperial Stormtroopers in Star Wars and despite having a perfect clear shot at her, the bullet misses its target by a country mile. Scully dives for cover in a cave and after taking a moment to ponder her life choices, finds herself confronted by Mulder's Aztec friend. The man runs off but a few seconds later Mulder catches up with her, hilariously scaring her half to death in the process. Mulder explains that the Aztec builder, who in case we hadn't already guessed was really Enoch, is going after the soldiers and that he and Scully need to find themselves an "ilbal".

9 Panel 1The pair begin exploring the ruins using knowledge of the city Mulder learned from Enoch after he ate the builder. Scully is disgusted by what Enoch has done but cannot contain her curiosity and the two find their way inside a secret room containing what appears to be a crystal version of Magneto's helmet: the ilbal. Outside, the soldiers plant explosives and scheme to betray Enoch, unaware that he is hiding behind a rock and listening in Gollum-like. Mulder recounts the story of the ilbal - an instrument to allow man to see as the Gods do - to Scully, complete with some half-man/half-deer creatures that look like early Hannibal wendigos. In his tale an Aztec emperor foresaw the destruction of the world and sent his sorcerers to locate Aztlan, the ancient home of the Aztecs, in order to learn the secrets of the ilbal and construct one for him. The sorcerers became lost until they had their very own prophetic dream, one which Mulder decides is "a classic abduction experience". The sorcerers constructed the ilbal and tested it for themselves, encountering Huemac, the King of The Dead. Huemac mocked their emperor and so the sorcerers built the Alaskan city to hide the ilbal - which seems like both a colossal amount of effort and a rather daft thing to do. If I was trying to hide a soccer ball sized Aztec object in Alaska, the last thing I'd do is advertise its hiding place by constructing an enormous and completely out-of-place Aztec style city around it. While Mulder gives Scully her history lesson, Enoch attacks Shadenfreud and his men, carrying the unconscious general into a cave with his men in pursuit.

Scully questions the military's interest in the crystal helmet and Mulder reveals his own theory - that the helmet is actually a device for contacting "star beings", aliens the Aztecs believed were Gods. Scully's expression upon hearing this theory is priceless but there is no time to argue the details. The two of them begin their escape out of the city into the nearby cave system. Alerted by the sounds of screaming and chewing (eww), they discover Enoch and what remains of General Shadenfreud. Enoch has eaten his brain and as the memories begin to drop into his mind, he soon begins to piece together the whole story. Trapped inside the cave by the soldiers, Mulder shocks Scully by willingly handing over the ilbal in order to allow their escape, dragging Enoch along with them. Mulder believes the man more valuable than the ilbal as he now knows all the General's secrets. While they carry him out, Enoch babbles almost incoherently about the Aztecs and their desire for a concept of "home", a place they could never return to.

9 Panel 2

The issue ends with Scully's report. She reveals that the three of them trekked for two days before reaching a state park outpost - well at least on this occasion they actually explained how they got home - and that on their return home Enoch was diagnosed with kuru: an incurable degenerative neurological disorder transmitted by cannibalism. Enoch has become increasingly incoherent however Mulder "spends hours by his side" in a desperate attempt to learn more about the conspiracy Shadenfreud worked for - something that leaves Scully "concerned for his health". While we read her report, the soldiers blow up the entrance to the Aztec city and the colonel - now in charge of the group - holds the ilbal and wonders what "Aquarius" (a name we have heard a few times already in these comics) thinks it does. "It's not your job to wonder," Mother Base warn him over the radio.

This month's letters page is one of the most interesting so far with many little hints to future arcs being given. Two different writers (Michael Poulson, and R.E.B.) write in to ask about "Aquarius", both positing their own theories regarding the person or organisation behind the name. Although Stefan doesn't reveal anything per se, he does inform us that we will learn more before issue #12 and the end of the year. Another letter, from G.K. Arbarek, links the Neola incident to the "Firebird" arc. The conspiracy is beginning to unravel...

There are also, of course, the usual scattering of strange and unusual letters as well. Nine-year-old Grant informs us that he once had a "Scully & Mulder meets O.J. Simpson trial" dream, Mary tells us that her cat is a fan of the show, and a question regarding the ages of Mulder & Scully is answered that the author simply didn't know. 

Next issue begins the three part story "Feelings of Unreality" that will conclude year one of the X-Files comics. Join us in two weeks!