This, ladies and gentleman, is the story arc that X-Files season ten has been building up to. So far, over twenty issues, we’ve had aliens, freaks of nature, and a lot of things that go bump in the night. It’s been a mixed run so far, but does Joe Harris manage to bring his A game to what is going to be a multi-issue arc? I had a look to find out.

It’s about to get weird

X-Files season 10 is 21 img 1 There’s enough going on in this issue to keep X-Files aliens story arc fans interested. It gave me chills just reading it.  On the one hand, we’ve got the old manipulators from the show, y’know, that secret group Cancer Man and Deep Throat were a part of, in their strange “reanimated” state. And on the other, we’ve got elements from Mulder’s past jumping out of the woodwork and trying to chomp down on him almost literally.

Meanwhile, Matthew Dow Smith’s art and Jordie Bellaire’s colours are striking and bold and give a real mean edge to this part’s antagonists. Everything is just that extra bit sinister, from glowing blue screens, to creased facial expressions, and just adds to the thrill.

The levels of weird that start this arc off are, for me, beautifully reflective of what was happening with the arcs this all belongs to from the TV show. And I love what Joe Harris is doing with all of this. It feels like we’re going to get some answers, but we’re not going to believe the journey that we need to head out on in order to get those answers. And through all of this, Mulder is at his vulnerable best: he doesn’t have all the answers, he’s in the dark, and that’s when he really works as a character.

Welcome to the future today

X-Files season 10 is 21 img 2 If you consider the fact that Joe Harris has been bringing a series, that ended before the 21st century really got going, into the present day, I am a little surprised that it’s taken him this long to finally tackle an aspect of our lives that didn’t exist when X-Files ended. What really marks this issue out and shows how Harris has been working to evolve things, is the way the rest of the world reacts to what happens in the story. That’s right – the rest of the world. It’s not like the pre-web 2.0 days of much of the X-Files, Harris finally acknowledges how a lot of what Mulder and Scully get tangled up in just wouldn’t go down today like it did in the past.

So as well as the cast of past nightmares mentioned earlier, technology is properly introduced into the mix of this issue. Proper – 24 hour, live blogging, news channels will pounce on anything, social media will be on fire – technology. And it’s so uplifting to have the characters and the events in the spotlight, because, as a long term fan, one of the things that’s always frustrated me is how everything has always been in the dark. But what I also like is how we’ll probably see some repercussions for all of this in later issues.

Worth reading?

Emgood If you have stuck with the series this far, then this new arc is definitely worth having in your life. And if you’ve not read the series so far… things might be a bit confusing. But what I really, really like is the feelings of the TV series that Joe Harris manages to evoke in this issue – there’s a clear line between the two and I have no idea where anything is heading to. And I like it.

The X-Files season 10 issue 21 “Elders, Part 1” is out now, published by IDW. Our reviewer bought their own copy.