Last month saw the brilliant revelation of X-Files: Season 10’s big bad. This week, writer Joe Harris gives us a little background on the long lost character along with his current motivations. Is it good?
The X-Files: Season 10 #23 (IDW Publishing)
The issue opens with a daring escape by the Cigarette Smoking Man. I won’t tell you how it ends, but I will say that he has a pre-credits line worthy of the CSI: Miami treatment.
We then cut to Mulder, who is having a very disturbing conversation with a person/thing from his past. Things only get worse once Gibson shows up. After totally force choking Mulder (seriously), he claims to be working in his best interest. Then to drive that point home, he leaves Mulder locked in a room with a bunch of creepy clones.
The issue then cuts to the CSM we saw talking to Scully. Their conversation is used to give the reader a primer on Gibson Praise’s history within the X-Files mythology along with some very salient questions about what he might be capable of as an adult.
Scully agrees to accompany CSM on a trip to rescue Mulder. This results in more revelations, a lot of green blood, and a very disturbing (and slightly confusing) final image.
Is It Good?
This issue isn’t as strong as the last one, but that was arguably out of necessity rather than any sort of narrative missteps. Harris opened a giant can of worms bringing Gibson Praise back…a beautiful, awesome can of worms…but there was still a lot slimy wriggling to manage.
For fans who didn’t watch the show, WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU?! Also, some background information was definitely needed.
For fans who do remember the little psychic boy, we needed a good reason for him to go from being a gifted victim to a Sith lord. Harris manages to do this very well via some expositional dialogue, flashbacks, and an interrogation scene so creepy it actually made me shiver. A lot of credit for creating the book’s terrifying atmosphere goes to artist Matthew Dow Smith, who continues to turn in his best work on the series by far.
The issue’s large amount of exposition does bog down the narrative at times, particularly near the end. Last issue was a near perfect balance of action, suspense, and exposition. This one felt much looser, but still managed to be highly interesting/entertaining. It also sets up what looks to be a very exciting next issue.
I’ve often felt that he and Harris dropped the ball on many of the series mythology issues, but not this time. The creative team is definitely firing on all cylinders as we head to the Season 10 finale. The truth is out there, and that truth is that X-Files: Season 10 kicks ass.