The Assistant Director has something more ordinary – at least by FBI standards – up her sleeve for Mulder and Scully in this issue. Mulder is brought on board for his knowledge of criminal psychology, rather than his X-Files experience, to help investigate a missing person’s case and Scully tags along for the ride.
Greg Scott (Strange Attractors, The Shield) has taken over art duties in this issue. This is a good thing, because I don’t think Michael Walsh’s style would have been able to capture this issue’s minute antagonists to the necessary level of detail.
Scott’s more elaborate style actually brings some much needed visual characterisation to Assistant Director Anna Morales. Up until this point she’d seemed a bit of a blank character since her introduction in issue six. But it also suits the story running here of what appears to be some mysterious cult, because despite Scott’s use of intricate lines they fade so nicely into the murkier parts of the comics where we’re not quite sure what’s going on and better reflects the unreliable narrator that keeps cropping up in the issue’s captions.
I did enjoy reading this issue, but it looks like Joe Harris is taking us elsewhere for issue ten, which is a tad annoying as the case wasn’t closed. While this is a tactic that was infrequently used for monsters of the week in the TV series and paid off in the instance of Tombs, I’m not sure this is going to work as well. It worked within issues six and seven, because it had been left hanging in the series, but I’m not sure it’ll work with a new monster. The Chittering God will obviously be revisited and I’ll reserve full judgement on that matter until it happens.
I suppose I partially feel like this issue was too short in terms of story, everything happened really quickly and was quite condensed. And because of how condensed the events were, Mulder’s role in being brought on board a regular case had no real chance to be further explored for those who are unfamiliar with his criminal profiling days.
I’m finding it difficult to recommend this issue. The change in art style has been welcome, but the story really does feel rushed. Unless the Chittering God becomes a key player – which the show’s supernatural, non-alien elements rarely have done – you could probably safely give this one a miss.