After many mythology-focused issues (Believers; Being for the Benefit of Mr. X) and a double issue that is a sequel of an episode of the TV show (Hosts), this is Season 10’s first fully original story arc! Joe Harris comes up with a gritty, graphic tale worthy of many of the show’s horror episodes: “Chitter“, with the Chittering God.
More after the jump.
The story is spread over few scenes, each given a proper number of panels to develop. However, with just 22 pages to cover an entire self-contained story, there are only so many developments that can be covered, and the single-issue feels very short indeed. In many ways I got reminded of the old Topps XF comics, which had many single-issue monster of the week type stories. Of course as soon as you say “X-Files” and “insects” you think the mytharc’s bees and the cockroaches of 3X12: War of the Coprophages (…and then you think 9X06: Lord of the Flies), but the story here is quite original and the reasons behind the murders actually left half unexplained. We do get the appearance of a roach in a panel as if it were “breaking the fourth wall”, like in the Darin Morgan episode, where a roach walked “in front” of the screen.
What elevates this story is Scully’s personal ordeal, and the references to wounds still open that go far back in time. “You’ve lost a child. Either recently, or a long time ago…” “The Chittering God has chosen you. He chooses the lost and the hurting and feeds on those frailties and you both grow stronger.” Scully, as would be expected of her, and as much as she may be trying hard to hide it in her renewed role of FBI Special Agent, is deeply troubled and suffers from being uncertain of William’s location and well-being — not to mention the old but unforgettable loss of Emily.
The art by guest artist Greg Scott is quite a change from previous issues, and it is very appropriately gritty, with many black lines and shadowed faces and strong contrasts; it fits very well with colours by Art Lyon. The teaser, the interrogation scene and the climax with Scully stand out in particular, and the horrible chittering sounds flood your ears as well as your vision. However, Scully and Mulder really look like they are in their thirties again and that this is a lost episode from the 1990s! Also, AD Morales looks incredibly like Agent Amanda Peet from I Want To Believe. Not to mention certain panels that are awfully remindful of shots from episodes: Mulder & Scully in page 4 (up above) look like photoshoots of Duchovny & Anderson; in their motel in page 13 (right above) they look like the end scene of 9X19/20: The Truth (itself a reference to the Pilot); Scully in page 17 looks a lot like early Season 8 Scully, like in 8X01: Within or 8X05: Roadrunners; and the middle-aged lady also looks a lot like the bus driver from that same 8X05: Roadrunners! Here they are both:
All in all, an interesting issue that proves that Harris can very well handle “Monster of the Month” episodes in the vein of the show — however a two-issue story would have been preferable. With six months of mythology issues approaching, at the end of issue #15 there will have been just 3 stand-alone issues, so there should be room afterwards for some strong Monsters of the Month. Maybe we’ll learn more about the Chittering God too?