Tony Black reviews The X-Files #3…
THE X-FILES is back and bigger than ever! Now, with the participation of Chris Carter, IDW Publishing is proud to present the continuing adventures of iconic FBI Agents FOX MULDER and DANA SCULLY! Tune in here for the finale of “Muerta”!
The second of the first two-part story from Joe Harris in this new IDW run of The X-Files, and ‘Dia de Muertos’ part 2 manages to successfully conclude an intriguing tale concerning Mexican folklore, and the worship of Santa Muerte. The cliffhanger–which saw Mulder in imminent danger from a red eyed monster hiding out in his boot–doesn’t perhaps unfurl in as exciting or tense a manner as you might wish, but Harris doesn’t wait to throw us into the story as Mulder & Scully attempt to uncover the mystery of the rather savage deaths from their usual, different, angles. For Mulder it’s throwing himself at the mercy of some heavy duty Mexican cartel folk, while Scully stays in the autopsy bay attempting to figure out the cause of death.
We get here, naturally, more of a focus on the other of the two Mexican children central to the dark mystery of the story – Enrico. Harris gives us some flashbacks which establish Enrico’s story, exposing the enigma of the mysterious Justiniano, which does allow for a particularly nasty human villain to terrorise this second part. While we do have a clear mythological beastie here, it’s really as much about the human monsters who use Mexican immigrants like cattle, and subtly commenting on the abuse of such migrants by exploitative workers on the US side of the border. Would it make a good filmed episode? Maybe. Matthew Dow Smith layers this with enough blood and creeping terror in his panels that, along with Harris’s quite chilling narrative and a classic X-Files open ended final moment in the solid tradition of the show, you almost wish that this may have formed part of the recent event series.
It’s been a good start for the IDW tie-in series so far, three issues in. Joe Harris has had to change narrative tack, telling stories outside of the mythology and not beholden to continuity in the way he was much more free to with his own ‘alternate Season 10’, but it’s not made his take on The X-Files any less strong. These two opening tales have been in the vein of solid standalone ‘monster of the week’ stories and while it would be nice to see him layer in whatever mythology and continuity Chris Carter may allow going forward, these in-continuity tales are well worth enjoying while we wait for Season 11.
The X-Files #3 is out on June 22nd.
Tony Black is a freelance film/TV writer & podcaster & would love you to follow him on Twitter.