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Gavin F

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Book #23: The X-Files Season 11, Volume 1 by Joe Harris

Despite the fact that the comic books do not appear to match the X-Files canon, with the show's return for a 10th (and reportedly also 11th) season, the comic books have continued with their own Season 11.

There are three individual stories in this comic book, which all form part of a story arc that continues directly from the last story from Season 10 of the comic books series, "Elders".

The first story, "Cantus" provides a sort of coda to "Elders", while introducing some new plot elements. Cantus seems to be some mysterious company that we are sure to find out more about as the series progresses. There is also a continuing storyline involving a crashed satellite that Mulder is attempting to learn more about, and this continues into the next story.

Most of the plot to the first story contains spoilers for "Elders", so I'll put it behind a spoiler cut for anyone who's behind.

[Spoilers for Elders (comic book Season 10)]

So, in "Elders", it transpired that all members of the conspiracy, including the Cigarette Smoking Man, were being cloned repeatedly by the now grown up Gibson Praise, the telepathic boy who occasionally popped up in the original TV series. At the end, all of the conspiracy members got killed off seemingly for good, with the destruction of Gibson's cloning lab. Scully then appeared to kill Gibson, only for him to turn out to one of a vast number of clones.

Mulder had to go on the run to escape prosecution over events that took place at the start of "Elders", and so the story sees Mulder and Scully separated, but being communicated with by someone who may or may not be the real, uncloned, Gibson. Gibson has now developed an ability to communicate with the agents through other people, even animals (at one point, he uses a wolf to speak to Mulder); he is even able to control the actions of others, much like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or Bran on Game of Thrones when he "wargs" into an animal.

"Cantus" ends by neatly segwaying into the second story, the three-part "Home Again", when an old X-File is produced. The second story is aptly called "Home Again", because the file is on the grotesque Peacock family, from the notorious Season 4 episode, "Home", probably the most controversial and disturbing episode of the show ever, and banned by the Fox network for some time after its initial airing.

I did ponder whether the file should even exist any more, since it did appear that just about every X-File that Mulder ever produced went up in flames at the end of Season 5 when the Cigarette Smoking Man set fire to the filing cabinet. Those who have seen the televised Season 10 will also know that it did feature an episode called "Home Again" written and directed by Glen Morgan, who co-wrote "Home", only this had nothing to do with the Peacock brothers and seemed inspired by the works of Banksy.

Plot hole aside, the second story inolves the surviving members of the Peacock clan living in a new home, which Mulder arrives at, first meeting a young lady who turns out to be a new - and seemingly normal - member of the family. There is also a creepy army of Peacock children that hound Mulder (they made me think of the Gnomes of Bism from CS Lewis' Narnia story, The Silver Chair).

The story also fleshes out the Peacock family a little, with flashbacks involving the family patriarch, seen only in the TV version in the sequence where Mulder and Scully discovered the family photo album. The first has him berating eldest son Edmund about their family values, and the other features the car crash that killed Pa Peacock and left Ma severely disfigured, and as a quadriplegic living under the bed.

This manages to create a chilling, and very shocking, stand-alone story, while continuing the overarching plotline, something that seems very unlike the normal format for the show (I'm not certain if they ever combined their "monster of the week" plots with the show's "mythology" episodes), mostly by involving Mulder retrieving a part of the aforementioned crashed satellite.

The artwork fits the style of the original "Home" episode, and my only complaint is that, aside from the kids, the Peacock family members just don't look grotesque enough, not quite the same as the prosthetic-clad actors seen on the TV show. I suspect the look of Ma Peacock post-crash was based on a fortune teller who died at the start of Season 3's "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"; she was played by the actress who played Ma Peacock, only free of the grotesque make up.

The third story has a title that I will abstain from mentioning, as it is spoilery if you've not read all of the Season 10 comic books. It features more flashbacks that feature a mysterious man saying, "You'll see us soon", while giving an ominous, and creepy, grin. As well as using similar themes to "Cantus", it does feature Mulder now under arrest, encountering problems while under guard on a plane. It does feature a brief return of one of the faceless rebel aliens from the original series, and more references to the Cantus organisation.

The story itself is far from resolved at the end, but if nothing else, it left me salivating for more, to see what happens next.

Next book: Traveller by Richard Adams
Tags: conspiracy fiction, graphic novel, horror, ominous, sci-fi, television

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