There are spoilers in this review.
Having gone to explore an attack at an American owned oil refinery in “Pilgrims, Part 1”, things have not gone well for Mulder and Scully during their trip to Saudi Arabia. If the cold treatment from the locals wasn’t enough, things have gotten decidedly weird after the Black Oil reared its ugly head and Alex Krycek (who was meant to be very, very dead) showed-up in the Kingdom. The abduction of Scully at the end of Issue 12 means that the series is returning to the utter weirdness of its opening issues.
Back in Arlington
The reappearance of Scully and Krycek in Arlington Cemetery, not far the Lone Gunmen’s new hideout, is pretty weird – like why would the alien forces involved in this whole charade be so considerate as to do something like that. It’s also unusual how no one comments on the convenience of Scully (let alone Krycek) ending up in the vicinity of allies, and when I say unusual, really I mean I think it’s a little silly how no one asks enough questions. Like, everyone’s surprised by Krycek being alive, but no dialogue is devoted to asking, “Huh, it’s funny how you ended up so close to friends,” especially when returned abductees in the TV series often didn’t reappear anywhere as convenient.
Overall, though, the characters’ reactions in this part of the run aren’t hitting the note that seems dramatically appropriate. There’s no way everything’s become everyday for all of them. What freak outs there are seem toned down and infrequent. I’m not saying people should be crying and emotional to the point of not being able to do anything, but even the Lone Gunmen at this point seem like they’re keeping their cool far too much. They’re more accepting of things than they should be.
The mystery continues
This is the third issue in this specific arc and we’re 13 in to wondering the real M.O. of all parties involved in season 10. By the end of this issue we’ve again got more questions than answers and things are, for me as a reader, stretched rather thinly on how much more I can cope with this. It’s obvious by the end of the issue that Mulder isn’t quite himself, infected with the Black Oil for what isn’t the first time, but it’s unclear how any of that is going to help the opposing parties in this story track down Scully’s son William, who has been the real target of everything since the first issue.
Despite all that has happened we’ve seen no sign of William, we’ve seen agents disappear with little comment from those who knew them – these questions have been left unanswered for an incredibly long time. If you consider the ratio of stand alone episodes to arc episodes in the previous seasons of The X-Files, then the balance that existed in the show for asking and answering questions is really not here at the moment. And I am growing frustrated by this. With each issue I am finding little resolution and I am afraid that once things begin to be explained, the pay-off isn’t going to be big enough.
In fact, when Scully narrates:
As with the details of my previous abduction, the strange lights I was exposed to at Yellowstone Park remain enough of mystery to make relation of the experience, much less understandingit, almost impossible.
It felt like Harris and co. were opting for slipping in a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for not having many explanations for much of what’s happened in the comics so far.
Again, if you’ve read the previous issues, then sure. Those who haven’t touched The X-Files Season 10 yet will find this an awkward place to start at. While the cliffhanger leaves me wanting to read more, I don’t like how the comic has made me feel in terms of being denied explanations for the events that are happening in the comic. And I wish the characters would be a little less flat at the moment. Of course I’m going to keep buying them, because I am such a huge fan of the series, but I’m getting to the point of feeling like my enthusiasm is being taken advantage of.
The X-Files Season 10 issue 13: “Pilgrims, Part 3” is out now. Our reviewer bought their own copy.