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S10#18: The Lowdown

Monica & John returns to the title characters, Reyes & Doggett, after their fate was left undecided in #2 and #3 of Believers — an issue short on events but probably setting the stage for future developments. We also see the Acolytes again, and get a firm idea of how much time has passed since Season 10 started.

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More after the jump.

It’s a saying in the world of comic books, nobody ever really dies. This has been so much true for X-Files Season 10, with so many characters from the series being returned from the dead, in one way or the other. Now, Season 10 goes one step further: after leaving them in a very bad spot and with many reasons why we could have considered them dead earlier within Season 10, Doggett and Reyes are back. Doggett was left at an oil pipeline explosion surrounded by Acolytes (here we see more in detailed what happened, and his abduction); Reyes was left in the Van de Kamps’ house surrounded by the tenants’ dead bodies and menacing Acolytes.

Instead of killing them, the Acolytes have held them captive for long months in the basement of a house in North Dakota, with a single shape-shifting Acolyte holding guard. The third FBI Agent that went missing along with Reyes is nowhere to be seen — the Acolytes had no use for her? The Acolyte has been watching the sky with a telescope and maps of stars, waiting for “a sign“, “for instruction“, most likely from his alien masters (this passion for astrology is reminiscent of the possibly alchemical symbols connected with the Acolytes, see #2). The instruction comes in the form of an alien stiletto, to kill the Acolyte and free the prisoners; the Acolytes don’t seem to value much their own lives, and the aliens must be treating them as disposable slaves, keeping with the role the alien/human hybrids have had in the past. The Acolyte was also referring to something Doggett & Reyes should have understood while they were there all this time (“you don’t see it yet, do you?“); maybe this is his religious rapture of how awesomely superior the alien Colonists are, maybe he is referring to something more precise related to his observations of the stars and the arrival of the aliens (“they’ll be here soon“).

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The issue starts with an opening that reminded me of the season 2 opening of LOST, with a daily breakfast routine; and it ends with Doggett and Reyes free. We don’t learn more as to why they were kept alive, and why they were kept captive; Reyes thinks that “they” had simply forgotten about them. Doggett mentions they have been captive for “eighteen months, two weeks and three days“, more or less the same time that has passed ‘in the real world’ since Season 10 started in June 2013! That is a long time compared to the events we have seen unfolding across 18 issues! This has resulted in a long-haired, bearded Doggett (below, Robert Patrick in True Blood). We also see Doggett’s age on the “Missing” poster, 54, which places us firmly in 2014 and so in present time (Reyes’ age is not visible, as her birth date was never revealed in the series).

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Did Joe Harris have to bring Doggett & Reyes back? Judging from past issues, the focus of Season 10 is very much on Mulder and Scully and the mythology that takes us back to seasons 2-5 of the show. Quite possibly, Harris never intended to bring these characters back until he was convinced otherwise by fan reactions. I have nothing against the characters, but my definite preference of the show lies with the earlier seasons. In this issue, there’s not much we learn on these characters and how they developed over the decade we didn’t see them: there’s some interaction — but not particularly much — between Doggett and Reyes that might imply they had a close relationship, as could have been inferred from many episodes in season 9 (he also calls her “Agent Reyes” here, quite the professional); and we also get a passionate hug between Scully and Doggett, keeping with the closeness they developed over season 8. Good characterization with Doggett, who refuses to kill his captor and stands for justice as he always has; Reyes is more impulsive.

Doggett and Reyes are also featured in next month’s “X-Files X-Mas Special“! Also, no Mulder in this issue: as editor Denton informs us (!), he is off to testify before a parole board in Millennium #1 due out in January! Scully immediately refers to Monte Propps, the serial killer Mulder famously captured in 1988 (1X79: Pilot!): will the Millennium comic blend a Mulder origin story and Frank Black? Overall, this is an issue with surprisingly little dialogue; I love the artwork and the scenes unfolding without dialogue, it is all very cinematic. However the issue still is 22 pages long and ultimately there is little plot development; a bit like #8, this is really setting the stage for future adventures.

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