The covers: Three choices for you to uncover this month. The Regular cover is by Francesco Francavilla with our two agents in gray, looking for something. Behind them in red is a woman with black eyes, whose hair is writhing about like tentacles. To the left of the big X is a hooded man, like a clansman, bathed in red against a cool blue background. Many images seemingly teasing many hints, but what does it all mean? The RI cover is another trippy cover by menton3 with Joanie Cartwright gazing forward, unaware of the skeletal winged demon trying to embrace her. Yikes! This is creepy with the bright coloring making this feel hellish. The Subscription cover is a photo cover featuring Mulder and Scully wearing suits in a forest, squatting down to consider some clue. Superb photo! Overall grades: Regular A-, RI A, and Subscription A+
The story: A short summary on the inside cover prefaces Part 2 of “Immaculate” by Joe Harris. Several agents, including our duo, are at the scene of a massacre in Murphysville, North Carolina. Bodies are everywhere, shot several times. Scully can’t understand why victims’ bodies have turned “white as a ghost.” Supposedly, a mob of citizen defenders were being led by alleged abortion clinic bomber, teen Joanie Cartwright. Some of the locales were spared, while others weren’t. As the agents leave the scene, a silhouette of a man goes to one of the bodies and “sees” the victim before death, pleading for Joanie to stay away. The same figure then goes to a female body and “sees” her begging for mercy. He touches the corpse, now seeing Joanie approaching this woman, though backed by a demonic force. Mulder teases Scully that she’ll have to do several autopsies because “…it’s not like you have psychic powers or anything…” The silhouette is then revealed to be Frank Black! Holy cow–Frank Black–from the Chris Carter series Millennium–is back! This reveal is more than worth the cover price of this book. But there’s a really cool story to go along with this! Readers see that Joanie has her own little enclave, where things don’t exactly go right. Dana receives a mysterious bag containing some interesting files, while Fox meets with Black and the two have words, leaving Black to take matters into his own hands. What a fantastic meeting of characters and a nail-biter of a supernatural tale. The ending will leave you screaming! Overall grade: A+
The art: Very eerie artwork from Colin Lorimer on this issue. He captures Mulder and Scully’s likenesses well, and I recognized Lance Henriksen instantly. Lorimer is also doing the supernatural well, with undead images, demonic shapes, and blind followers. As good as the characters look, the backgrounds are lacking at times, especially in the forest settings where Fox and Black meet. I was impressed with several creepy point-of-view angles, such as on Pages 6, 7, 9, 17, and 22. As a whole, this book looks fine. Overall grade: B+
The colors: This book uses a lot of washed out colors that could reflect the loss of life, a mirror to all the death that’s occurred, or for the many shaded settings. Having all the images be so pale allowed for Frank Black’s visions to radiate with intensity. As good as these choices were, I found myself longing for some other bright shades from Joana Lafuente to brighten things up a bit. I felt myself losing the will to continue with such lifeless panels, which I felt strongly on the last eleven pages. Overall grade: B
The letters: Shawn Lee executes the classic X-Files’ scene settings and dialogue. A solid job. Overall grade: B+
The final line: An excellent conclusion with Frank Black back! Time to go to my local comic book store and sign up for the new Millennium comic book that’s coming out soon. Overall grade: B+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.