Tony Black reviews The X-Files #7…
“Came Back Haunted,” Part 2 of 4: Scully discovers Mulder has disappeared, which seems to be good timing because they have been pulled off their current case involving an apparent terrorist plot. But where did Mulder go, and what will Scully do about the advances made by the new man in her life?
SEE ALSO: Check out a preview of the issue here
As the first major myth arc story in The X-Files revival series from Joe Harris, ‘Came Back Haunted’ has a lot of expectation behind it as the first major storyline that may take its place inside the overarching mythology of the show, and part two adds to that sense of creeping mystery very well. What’s interesting is that Harris’ tale here isn’t ostensibly alien on the outset, not in the traditional manner we have experienced extra-terrestrials on the show, and it often more resembles a strange, twisted horror story from Chris Carter’s canon more than a large scale conspiracy tale. It’s indicative of how Harris is trying new things within the latitude of what he’s allowed to accomplish.
Buoyed by the usual dark and haunting artwork from Matthew Dow Smith, which etches shadows in every corner even when Mulder is on a commercial air flight, this second part adds enigma to complication as the strange entity inside our intrepid agent takes him on a bizarre journey to Eastern Europe for reasons we can still only guess at once we’ve reached the climax. Harris though skilfully manages to layer how Mulder is swept into arcane strangeness with a sense of pace, and while it may not be clear what’s happening to him, or why, the writing and panels are evocative and atmospheric.
Crucially he also tips the balance with Scully in a much more traditional setting, for she is dealing with FBI bureaucracy as she begins to grow concerned for Mulder’s whereabouts, and Skinner (with raging beard in tow) is in surprisingly obstructive mood, as Harris neatly once again places him between a rock and a government hard place, given shadows defence department forces seem keen to cover up the case that led Mulder on his journey, and connects back to the enigmatic Firas Ben-Brahim; he’s one of those unique X-Files characters who appears to be one thing but most assuredly will turn out another, and quite how he connects to the weirdness in Hungary and what he’ll lead Scully into is a mystery that remains to be seen.
On the whole, a solid second part to the biggest story The X-Files revival has attempted yet, with Joe Harris fusing long-form storytelling with weird happenings, a creepy atmosphere, and a great rabbit hole for Mulder & Scully to be sent down. Part three surely will start to explore quite what this all means, and the answers no doubt will be spooky.