In the late 1990s, Chris Carter (creator of “The X-Files”) produced a short-lived television series that is still one of my all-time favorites: “Millennium.” It was about a retired criminal profiler named Frank Black who becomes involved with a group that investigates cases that seem to be related to human evil and end-of-the-world prophesies. The series was dark, thoughtful, and brimming with rich symbolism. It is the only television series for which I purchased all seasons on DVD (three box sets) so I could rewatch them whenever I felt inspired. This book is a collection of essays about the series, as well as interviews with the cast and creative team.
Because the network suddenly cancelled the show (ironically, right before the millennium), there has been a strong movement among the fan base to attempt to influence the network to back a film or limited series that would bring satisfactory closure to this complex program. As one of the essays states, this was part of the impetus for compiling and publishing this book.
We felt that a book might serve as a testament to Millennium, the campaign, and the fans of the show. I won’t harp on too much about the book given I’m sure you’ll have found time to, at the very least, read this page of it, but suffice to say what we envisaged is very much what it became. In some respects, you could say it became all it could be: an intelligent compendium of responses to a mature and well-crafted television series.
There is some interesting information in this book and I enjoyed reading it, but it is definitely intended for fans of the show and assumes that the reader is versed in the mythology and story arcs that are part of the series. I’ll conclude by sharing that I am currently working through the Season 3 box set of “Millennium,” and it is a little eerie to watch this 20+ years later. Almost makes me wonder if the biblical millennium did creep up on us while we were expecting Y2K computer failures and planes falling out of the sky. Maybe the end is more of a fizzle instead of a cataclysmic explosion.
Animals have been a vital element in the development of mythological systems throughout history, across virtually every culture imaginable. In Western societies of the Middle Ages, in particular, animals represented specific traits and could therefore be utilized as symbols to convey moral and religious lessons in works of art. Animals can represent victims of technology, industrialization, or war. Also, animals sometimes equate with the concept of “purity,” existing in a wild, natural state and therefore utterly free from man’s sins and vices. Some passion plays and other didactic forms of theater utilized animal imagery to represent specific modes of behavior, including human vices.
“Neither good nor evil can be destroyed, and both will always be here. It’s meant to be. ‘The Lord hath made all things for himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.’ Our role is to achieve equilibrium. And as we do that we must respect evil and we must make evil respect us. But, at times such as now, events indicate that we’re losing balance. And time is running out.”
After swinging back and forth about this comic, I’ve decided it is time to let it go. I cancelled my standing order, and reading this issue affirmed that it was the right decision.
Although the writers tried to make the story relevant by adding snippets related to the tensions with North Korea, as well as issues with the current administration, the story is fragmented and fails to hold my interest. It’s somewhat sad for me, because I really love the X-Files and I have been a follower of the graphic series since its inception; but after several years, the creativity has dried up, in my opinion. And it doesn’t matter how many vague insinuations you weave into a story in an attempt to appeal to the conspiracy mentality, if there is not a cohesive story line, then it just does not work.
I honestly hope that the creative team concludes this series soon and focuses their efforts on something else.
I keep swinging back and forth in this arc. Sometimes I want to just stop reading it, but then it proves just interesting enough to keep me reading.
This was one of those issues. It is somewhat choppy; artwork is OK, but not great; and the storyline is fuzzy at best. But it draws on the Iran-Contra scandal, which I feel has gotten buried and lost in an age of memes, flashy click-bait, and sensationalism. And for that alone, I am glad I read this.
There is a great passage where Mulder recounts the key points of Iran-Contra, which I feel is worth sharing.
“Iran-Contra was an appalling, almost impossible to believe travesty of constitutional subversion. It had everything. Arms sold to the Iranians, our ‘80s-sized enemy, to pay ransom for American hostages being held in Lebanon. Money, in turn, funneled to arm rebellion against elected leftist governments and to fund illegal Central American wars. A direct assault on both sovereignty and democracy. We’re talking about assassinations and indiscriminate destruction of land and history. Death squads became common. Men securely positioned within the highest levels of our government were later exposed as running a for-profit shadow operation trafficking in narcotics, influence, and violence.”
It seems like ancient history, but it was really not that long ago. So even though our social and political landscape is shifting at an ever quickening rate, I think it is important that we don’t lose sight or our history.
I love when graphic novels explore current and relevant themes. This issue begins with an Arabic refugee who blows himself up, not as an act of terrorism, but because of some unseen supernatural forces. Hey, this is an X-Files story. But what I found most fascinating was the exploration of what it is like to be a refugee, to pack up what little you can carry, and flee with your family into the unknown.
But I feel it is important for people to understand these are people fleeing from extremism and war. A man like Qasim packed up his family before dawn and prayed they wouldn’t be discovered by fighters on the road, or bombed from the air as they ran. He risked all he had, trading pride for survival like so many before, as he led them toward what he hoped was a better life.
Many of the people my organization helps have endured incredible hardships. Crossing the Aegean Sea to reach Greece, many refugees fleeing middle-eastern strife witness children drowning when the overburdened boats their parents traded all they had of value for passage on capsize and sink. Those who survive the passage are soon met by overwhelmed local populations, stretched economies and resources—as well as the patchwork of international-aid distribution struggling to keep up. From there, they travel thousands of kilometers across the continent—mainly on foot—where they are met by protests and abuse and all manner of terrible conditions. For those who endure this journey, only hope sustains. Only the want to provide and do better for his children moves a man to undertake such a trial.
I lived in Florida during the Haitian refugee crisis, and I still vividly recall the hostility with which they were met. I knew someone who bragged about throwing rocks at a boatload of Haitians as their boat approached the shoreline. I personally had the utmost respect for the Haitian people and went with them to demonstrate at the INS office against the forced repatriation.
Most of us have no idea what it must be like to risk everything to escape a situation that is so dire that remaining is not an option. I hope that I never have to experience this in my lifetime.
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Once a year, IDW publishes an annual special edition X-Files graphic novel, which is a little longer, a little better quality, and double the price. This year’s is a little on the silly side, set in New Mexico and playing off the pun between undocumented immigrants and visitors from outer space. There is nothing groundbreaking in this book, and nothing deeply thought-provoking; it’s just a whimsical story, fairly well written and illustrated, that is kind of fun to read, but that’s about it.
The illegal alien pun is kind of cliché for me, so honestly, I found that the least interesting. The thing that I found the most entertaining was Mulder’s observations on pro-gun conspiracy nuts.
Mulder: I’ll make it. I was doing some research. Have you heard of the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theories?
Scully: Half-baked government haters who thing the government wants to take their guns?
Mulder: Right, emphasis on half-baked. But there’s something about it that bothered me. When we put on a tinfoil hat because we think the government is trying to invade our brain, we’re assuming a certain level of sophistication, right? We believe we’ve progressed as a civilization to where the next great existential danger will come from threats beyond our conception.
Scully: Are you arguing on message boards again?
Mulder: Yes, but hear me out, Scully. These people, they think, they really think, the government is going to use a coordinated training exercise in the southwestern United States as cover to take away everyone’s guns. Logistical concerns aside—when did our conspiracies become so lazy? Have we fallen so far that the grand plan to enslave the human race is eliminating the threat of small-arms fire?
I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself as I read this, especially considering all the social media chatter about how “if Clinton gets elected she is going to take away all our guns.” It’s the same thing you hear about every Democratic candidate. It’s never happened, and yet the fear and myth persists.
Anyway, if you are an X-Fan, you’ll probably get a kick out of this book; if not, you will see it as nothing more than a waste of $8, which could have been better spent on a latte and a defrosted piece of coffee cake from Starbucks.
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When I went to the comic store the other day to pick up my cache, this one was in my folder. I confess that I hesitated for a minute. A new X-Files arc? The last one I found disappointing, so I was not sure I wanted to bother with it. But being the X-phile that I am, I figured I would give it a read. If nothing else, it would give me something to complain about. But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by this first installment.
The story is about an active shooter incident in a mall where each of the shooters claims to see holes in the sky. There is a lot of stuff happening behind the scenes that is not made clear but implies that there is some sort of experiment taking place. Think “Jacob’s Ladder.”
What I liked the most about this issue is that it works as a stand-alone story, but also ties in with the larger X-Files conspiracies, so you can approach it from different levels depending upon your knowledge of the background. And it seemed well thought-out, the writing was solid, and the artwork was good. Honestly, I couldn’t find a flaw in this, which was encouraging. My interest is definitely piqued and I will certainly continue reading the subsequent issues. I get the feeling that the creative team has gotten their groove back and have some fresh ideas they are ready to explore.
So I’m not sure where this story is going. Part 1 of Home Again was pretty good and got my hopes up, but this one was a bit of a let-down. I cannot help but feel like the writers are struggling to find their way, and that’s disappointing. I think that I feel even more disappointed with this issue because I just watched a really great X-Files episode with my daughter, one of the classics from Season 2 that features the alien bounty hunter (we’ve been watching the old series in anticipation for the reboot). Anyway, the contrast between the early television show and this issue is particularly stark. Of course, I will continue reading the series, but I feel less and less inclined spending my time reviewing the issues. So, unless the creative team ups their game, I am going to discontinue my regular reviews and only post occasionally when there is something worthwhile, kind of like I am doing with Witchblade (another arc that is struggling, in my opinion).
That’s all for now. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
As I mentioned in my review of Issue 1 of Season 11, the overarching storyline seems fragmented. And it still feels that way in this installment. But having said that, I confess that I enjoyed this issue.
This issue draws on an episode from the television series that was quite controversial when it aired. The TV episode was called “Home” and was the second episode of Season 4.
“Home” was the first episode of The X-Files to receive a viewer discretion warning for graphic content and the only to have carried a TV-MA rating upon broadcast. Critics were generally complimentary, and praised the disturbing nature of the plot; several made comparisons to the work of director David Lynch. Some reviewers nevertheless felt that the violent subject matter was excessive.
The television episode was basically about the Peacock family, which practiced incestuous inbreeding to keep their family lineage pure. The result was disturbing, to say the least. So in this comic, titled “Home Again” Part 1, Mulder ends up at a secluded farmhouse where the surviving Peacock family has been regenerating. He is captured and informed that he has been chosen to “mate” with the grotesquely deformed mother of the clan.
What intrigues me about this comic is that it bodes well for a possible tie-in to the upcoming X-Files television reboot. It appears that in this season, the writers may be going back and using “unsolved cases” as inspiration for the issues. I really like that and hope that this is the intention. Also, on a personal note, the whole concept of inbreeding and the genetic deformities that result from it is kind of fresh in my mind after reading “The Lurking Fear” by H.P. Lovecraft. It’s kind of strange when things that you are reading have parallels or connections.
Anyway, if you are an X-phile, then you will probably enjoy this issue; if not, you might as well skip it. This is definitely written with a clear target audience in mind, one who is familiar with the X-Files mythos and who has been following the graphic series. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and comments.
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