Tony Black reviews The X-Files #14…
“Resistance,” Part 1 (of 4): Scully receives an invitation from Firas Ben-Brahim after months of silence, and she soon discovers the dark secrets he’s been keeping from her… and the rest of the world.
The final curtain prepares to drop in this latest issue of The X-Files ongoing comic series, not just for this continuation run as it stands from IDW, but also writer Joe Harris’ almost five year tenure as the keeper of the conspiratorial comic flame. Joe and artist Matthew Dow Smith both discuss this on recent episodes of my podcast The X-Cast in more detail, but ‘Resistance’ begins a four part arc which connects back to the mid-season four part story ‘Came Back Haunted’ and the premiere ‘Active Shooter’, continuing the story of a mysterious, seemingly alien presence capable of possessing human beings, and the connection to it of Firas Ben-Mikklesen–uh Brahim, an enigmatic industrialist and philanthropist who here slips neatly into the role of slick informant of the like Agents Mulder & Scully have encountered over the years in their search for ‘the truth’.
Even though part one of ‘Resistance’ is very much an exposition-heavy, scene-setting piece, it nonetheless immediately rewards long time readers by getting straight into the guts of the story; Scully looking into Ben-Brahim, a man there have been past hints she may well be attracted to (hints Harris lightly plays on here, mainly through Mulder’s reactions) and through her interactions, we begin to glimpse connections between what Firas describes as the ‘Old Ones’ and much more familiar elements of the classic X-Files alien mytharc, which should put a smile on the face of any X-Phile purist.
Harris places Scully in the role of deliverer while Mulder remains laconic and distrusting, which fits the older portrayal of Mulder we saw in the recent tenth series; these days he is far less given to lapping up ‘truth’ with a wooden spoon, no matter who may be providing it, while Scully has more of a balanced determination to cautiously head down the rabbit hole and see what they find. Along the way, Harris nicely shows us new sinister governmental forces looking to keep the truth at bay, and once again continues his mission statement of reminding us we live in a murky world where our administration cannot be trusted, and one senses the parallels to our current, real world political landscape may grow less and less opaque the deeper his final arc goes.
As always backed up by Dow Smith with panels filled with shadow and edgy texture, Harris’ first goodbye salvo with ‘Resistance’ is a solid beginning, filled with continuing character and mythology pieces, some dark and nefarious scenes, and a brooding, ominous final moment which suggests some serious stakes are in play. Oh, and, final fanboy geek moment: that mention of Tunisia in Scully’s files connected to Firas – ten to one his father is Conrad Strughold from Fight the Future. Calling it now!