Tag Archives: Rumpelstiltskin

The X-Files: Year Zero – Issue #5

XFiles_YearZero_05

This issue concludes the mini-series and does so superbly. Unlike the previous issue, there is a lot of great stuff woven into this story.

Mulder and Scully discover Dorothy Sears’ identity in the present day. Having gained immortality by tricking the trickster Xero into giving her ambrosiac, she has lived below the radar and maintained her youth into the present day. There is a great panel where she relates to Scully what it was like to be a woman in the 1940s.

“But then, you don’t know what it was like in the forties, Agent Scully—for women, I mean. We had very limited roles, very few options. And a Cape Cod house with a picket fence was just a pretty cage—for me, at least.”

(p. 4)

During the climactic confrontation with Xero/Zero, Sears again tricks the trickster and escapes. Angered, Xero vows to hunt her down, but Mulder challenges him, claiming to know the tricksters true, secret name.

Xero: No! She will not do this again! She has broken her word—and so shall I! I will unheal her son, then hunt her down and—

Scully: You won’t hurt either of them!

Xero: No? And how would you stop me?

Mulder: By saying your true name!

Xero: You… play a card you do not have.

Mulder: Try me.

Xero: You are foolhardy, Fox Mulder. I like that in a man. It has earned you a reprieve. Until we meet again…

(Xero vanishes)

Scully: So… for future reference… what is his true name?

Mulder: Rumpelstiltskin?

(pp. 13 – 14)

I particularly loved the ending. It flashes back to 1947 where Ellinson and Ohio are setting up their new office space, from where they will begin investigating X-files. The two discuss how to set up their filing system.

Ohio: How should we have these sorted? The Sears case could go under “S”—or “L” for Long Island. But our Christmas trip—should that be “D” for Detroit? “H” for Hardin? “G” for gremlin?

Ellinson: Let’s keep it simple, keep them together so we can get at them quick. Bottom line is, these weird cases we’re looking into—past, present, and future—they’re all because of Mr. Xero. They’re all X-FILES.

(p. 20)

So this explains how the X-files got the name. Mentally filing that away for future trivia.

Hope you have an X-ellent day!!

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The X-Files: Year Zero – Issue #3 (Trickster Archetype)

XFiles_YearZero_03

This mini-series is getting very good. I was enjoying it from the beginning, but now it is really fleshing out and becoming a complex and engaging tale, complete with all the supernatural mystery that I love about the X-Files.

This issue continues the parallel storyline with agents Mulder and Scully investigating Mr. Zero in the present and Special Agent Bing Ellinson and Special Employee Millie Ohio investigating Mr. Xero in 1946. Both pairs of agents discover something about this mysterious being—that he appears to be an incarnation of the trickster. Upon overhearing Ellinson and Ohio’s conversation regarding Xero, Ish, a Native American youth, says: “He sounds like the one my people call Raven—a trickster who is helpful at times, hurtful at others.”

The trickster is an archetypal deity that appears throughout mythology.

The trickster deity breaks the rules of the gods or nature, sometimes maliciously (for example, Loki) but usually with ultimately positive effects (though the trickster’s initial intentions may have been either positive or negative). Often, the bending/breaking of rules takes the form of tricks (e.g. Eris) or thievery. Tricksters can be cunning or foolish or both; they are often funny even when considered sacred or performing important cultural tasks. An example of this is the sacred Iktomi, whose role is to play tricks and games and by doing so raises awareness and acts as an equalizer.

In many cultures, (as may be seen in Greek, Norse, or Slavic folktales, along with Native American/First Nations lore), the trickster and the culture hero are often combined. To illustrate: Prometheus, in Greek mythology, stole fire from the gods to give to humans. He is more of a culture hero than a trickster. In many Native American and First Nations mythologies, the coyote (Southwestern United States) or raven (Pacific Northwest and Russian Far East) stole fire from the gods (stars, moon, and/or sun) and are more tricksters than culture heroes. This is primarily because of other stories involving these spirits: Prometheus was a titan, whereas the Coyote spirit and Raven spirit are usually seen as jokesters and pranksters. Examples of Tricksters in the world mythologies are given by Hansen (2001), who lists Mercurius in Roman mythology, Hermes in Greek mythology, Eshu in Yoruba mythology and Wakdjunga in Winnebago mythology as examples of the Trickster archetype. Hansen makes the observation that the Trickster is nearly always a male figure.

(Source: Wikipedia)

As Mulder and Scully begin to figure out that the mysterious Xero/Zero is the trickster, they have a great discussion about the nature of the trickster and why he appears at the times he does, and also about the manner in which he manifests.

Scully: It seems in each instance Xero made an unexpected appearance that helped the agents… excuse me—agent and special employee… solve the case. He was training them. But why?

Mulder: The world was changing, Scully. Even the phenomena were changing. Suddenly there were rumors of aliens and atomic mutations in addition to ghosts and goblins. But no matter how real the consequences, to Xero it was all just a game.

Scully: And he wanted to make sure there was someone else who could play.

Mulder: I think Ish was right—we’re dealing with a trickster. Xero presented himself in terms that people from the 40s would understand—a being from another world… but there are patterns and peculiarities to his appearances that have shown up throughout human history. Two hundred years ago he would have been considered a mischievous or maleficent faerie or elf like Rumpelstiltskin. Two thousand years ago he would have been called a demon.

The trickster is one of my favorite mythological archetypes. I was enjoying this comic before, but now I am really psyched about it. I cannot wait to see how the two stories play out. Check back for my review on the next issue once it is released.

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