This issue is titled Immaculate and is the first installment in a new storyline. It is definitely spooky stuff and sucks you right in. The writing team weaves together science fiction and horror with actual events to create a truly engaging tale. I’m already craving the next issue.
The story is set in a rural North Carolina town that certainly fits the Bible Belt stereotype. A young woman named Joanie Cartwright goes to an abortion clinic and passes the gauntlet of Pro-Life demonstrators. Once inside, she appears to be communicating with an unseen alien entity. A bomb is exploded and it is assumed that she smuggled it in and detonated it, although she emerges unharmed. She continues to speak to this entity with divine reverence and persuades some of the protesters to follow her.
Once Mulder and Scully are assigned, they discover that the girl’s mother and some of the townsfolk have blinded themselves. They also find out that Joanie’s supposed boyfriend, Daniel, is studying a book on demonology. This all works well in building a compelling mystery.
The issue concludes with a twist that deepens the plot. Throughout the issue, an alien-like shadow represents the entity with whom Joanie is communicating. In the final frame, the entity is depicted with horns and what appear to be large wings, a clear implication that this is supposed to be a demonic being. It leaves the reader with a slew of questions. Is Joanie impregnated by some satanic entity? Is there a connection between angelic/demonic beings and alien life forms? Is Joanie an innocent or is there some dark intention behind her actions? In classic X-Files fashion, one is left with more questions rather than answers.
The issue scheduled out next month will be titled Millennial Visions. That intrigues me for a couple reasons. I don’t think our society has truly gotten over our millennial fears. I think as a society, our apocalyptic fears have taken root and are being fed by media hype. Natural disaster, global warfare, and biological threats are all prominent in our collective psyches. I am also intrigued by the possibility that we may see the return of Frank Black. For those who are unfamiliar, Frank Black was the main character in Chris Carter’s other television series, “Millennium,” which explored the darkness and apocalyptic changes associated with the new millennium. The show ended abruptly and Frank Black made his final television appearance on an X-Files episode. I have always hoped that Black would return in a film or something. Maybe this will be it. I suppose we will have to wait until next month to find out.
This issue concludes the six-part miniseries. While the series as a whole was a little goofy at times, overall it worked for me.
In this issue, the Lone Gunmen are reunited with Mulder and Scully as they race to prevent the spread of the genetically modified alien hybrid virus. The story works really well and concludes nicely. There is a twist at the end that draws on parallel universe theory in quantum physics, but that’s all I’ll say. You know how I feel about spoilers.
What really stood out for me in this issue, though, was the quality of the art work. It’s very good! There is one particular set of panels where Mulder is exploring a dark warehouse using a flashlight. The artist does a great job with light and shadow that evoked some of my favorite scenes from the television series. I’m no artist, but I understand that capturing the way light works is very difficult for a visual artist. Kudos to Stephen Downer and Chris Mowry for their work on this.
Reading this was welcome and refreshing, especially after reading the dismal X-Files 2014 Annual issue. I’m not sure if IDW plans to continue the Conspiracy series, but I hope so. I am, after all, a life-long X-Phile.
Links to my reviews of past X-Files Conspiracy issues:
This series is really starting to come together. Even the inclusion of the Lone Gunmen (who usually do little more than annoy me) worked well in this issue.
This installment takes place in Saudi Arabia, which ties in nicely with the return of the “black oil.” Essentially, the black oil is an alien virus that enters a human host and takes control of that person. It was featured in several series episodes, as well as in the original X-Files movie. Click here if you are interested in reading more about the oil.
There were no quotes that need to be highlighted here. Not that it is poorly written or anything such as that, there was just nothing in the dialog that struck me as extraordinarily profound or contemplative. Regardless, I felt intrigued when I finished. The strength in this episode is that it does an outstanding job setting the scene for subsequent installments. I have to say, I’m already eager to read Issue 12.
Now, I generally try to avoid spoilers in my posts, but doing so for this issue is impossible, so if you want to you can stop reading here.
At the very end of this issue, we have the return of another supposedly dead X-Files character: Alex Krychek. I don’t know why, but his reappearance did not bother me like the other resurrected characters in the series did. Maybe it was because Krychek had actually made a post-death appearance in one of the television series episodes. Anyway, I’m curious as to how the writers will spin this. For those who are interested, here is a good page that provides a lot of background information on Krychek.
My review of Issue 12 will be up as soon as I get my hands on the issue. Cheers!