There’s something strange going on in a small town and Mulder and Scully are sent off to investigate some quite serious crimes. And with this the series moves into far more serious territory in this issue, tackling subject matter that is extremely divisive in the US, while adding a touch of X-Files. But can this two-part storyline keep the balance between covering the issues of pro-life and pro-choice, with a huge dose of religious belief and domestic terrorism, and still remain classy? Read on to find out.
I think that’s the word I would use to describe this issue the most. It’s tackling the kind of real-world subject matter that I haven’t seen since the early days of the TV series, like when it looked at faith healing in the Miracle Man episode of the show. Starting off at an abortion clinic, this issue follows a route that I did not expect it to take. There was no warning that this was how things were going to go down and I loved it for that.
But I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that the opening setting wasn’t explored as much as it could have been, for fear of the comic drawing ire from certain circles. I get why Harris may not have wanted to go into things too much in regards to the clinic, whatever his personal beliefs may be on the subject, it just feels a shame that he’s writing in an atmosphere where he can’t. Though what is interesting is how the inciting incident for this issue also harks back to the period that The X-Files originally grew up in: let us not forget that it was in April 1995 that the Oklahoma City bombing happened, roughly 18 months after the series started airing.
The opening pages have a huge amount of shock value to them, but I think the way the story justifies the settings means that it does manage to stay respectively classy, at least for those of us who are open minded.
Of course there’s an element that explains why Mulder and Scully are involved in helping the FBI investigate the comic’s opening incident and it is feeling like classic X-Files. There’s no aliens (yet), but the supernatural hints in this issue are done better than the faith healing episode I mentioned.
There’s a real sense of intrigue going on and you can sense that Scully and Mulder are not necessarily cut out for whatever it is that they’re about to face down: and that is when the dynamic of these characters is at its best. It also means that there is a lot happening in this issue and the pacing is fantastic, not too fast or slow. Mulder and Scully, also, may not know what is going on, but they’re written to their strengths in terms of showing how the investigation progresses.
This storyline is definitely a good point to jump into the series if you haven’t already been reading it. It’s slickly done and a very interesting assembly of story. I’m hoping that the reveal that will be happening in the next issue lives up to the build-up that Joe Harris has introduced in this issue, because this issue was packed with suspense and intrigue. And I do think it manages to treat its opening subject matter with care. So yes: this is definitely an issue worth giving your time to.
The X-Files season 10 issue 16 “Immaculate, Part 1” is out now. Our reviewer bought their own copy.