In Review: The X-Files: Season 10 #24

Agents Harris, Smith, Bellaire, and Mowry do a spectacular job in creating thrills with these iconic characters

The covers: This is a terrific composition for a cover. Created by Francesco Francavilla, a giant starfield filled X is in the center, a shocked Scully is on the left, a focused Cigarette Smoking Man on the right, and the flag of Cuba on the top and bottom. This is stated on the inside cover as being the Regular cover, but that adjective is too bland for a work this well done. The Subscription cover is a photo cover of David Duchovny in Fox’s basement office. He doesn’t look anything like this within, but who cares? It’s a photo of Fox Mulder! The Retailer Incentive cover is another gallery painting portrait by interior artist Matthew Dow Smith. It’s an image of the Well Manicured Man — but didn’t he die in the first film? This is okay, but I’m not liking the stylized blocking shading on his head. Overall grades: Regular A, Subscription A+, and RI C

The story: The penultimate chapter of “Elders” by Joe Harris opens in the Syndicate’s office within a curtains closed room in New York City. The First Elder speaks to an unseen character about the original role of the Syndicate. “…We were all patriots once.” He speaks of his and his group’s resurrector, Gibson Praise, and how they were “returned to serve a new conspiracy…only to find our methods perverted. Our hierarchy was played for a farce.” The character being addressed is revealed and will induce gasps in readers. Page 4 transitions to Cuba where Scully has arrived, after being directed there by a clone of the Cigarette Smoking Man. Dana is approached by a driver, she was wasn’t informed of, who knows everything about her. Readers know this ride won’t go smoothly, and it doesn’t beginning on Page 6. Meanwhile, in the Sierra Maestra Region, Mulder continues his escape from Guantanamo Bay with another clone of the CSM. Each learns unexpected truths that led closer to Praise’s ultimate plan, which is still a mystery to me. The final page is a screamer. There’s plenty of tension, twists, and turns to convert new readers and please the faithful. Overall grade: A+

The art: I’m enjoying the art by Matthew Dow Smith. He’s putting the right amount of tension and creepiness into every page. The second and third panels of the first page demonstrate this ability. Readers will be looking deeply into each to see if they can glean a better look at the speaker. Having this individual in a barely lit room instantly makes his every move and word sinister. The reveal on Page 3 is a stunner, with the likeness to that person’s television counterpart being spot on. Also looking good is Dana Scully, whose two close-ups on Page 15 are brilliant. Fox is also sharp, especially on Pages 11 and 12. There’s a good deal of action in this installment, and Smith brings it to life on Pages 7, 11 (Good foreshadowing in the first panel), 12, and 14 (Love the last panel!). There are three excellent entrances in this issue — Pages 3, 15, and 20, with that final one appearing like a death sentence. Smith is such an excellent choice to illustrate this book. Overall grade: A+

The colors: I’m sounding like a broken record, but praises must also be sung of Jordie Bellaire’s contributions. The dim colors of the opening three pages accentuate the foreboding nature of the story and art. Cuba, for Scully, is wonderfully bright with its blue skies and old cars. My favorite colors are the oranges that begin on 13. I also like the blue on those shown in the second panel on Page 15 — It gave an ancient alien vibe to the visual. Mulder’s Cuba is much darker, as it’s raining, but when something violent occurs the colors explode brightly. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Chris Mowry provides dialogue, iconic scene settings, story title, sounds, and next issue’s tease. I wanted the broadcast on Page 2 to be a font different from dialogue, but the shape of the balloon accomplished that task. Overall grade: A

The final line: Agents Harris, Smith, Bellaire, and Mowry do a spectacular job in creating thrills with these iconic characters. Recommended. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five 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.
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