Writer: Joe Harris
Art: Matthew Dow Smith
Colours: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Shawn Lee
After a couple of issues worth of “monster of the week”-type stories, The X-Files Season 10 #18 returns to the overarching storyline that has been a big part of the series so far. The last time we saw Special Agents John Doggett and Monica Reyes, they were blown up by a gas explosion caused by weird shape-shifting alien faction The Acolytes. They seemed to be pretty definitely dead, but death doesn’t really mean much in this incarnation of the X-Files. In this issue we discover than Doggett and Reyes are still alive, but we don’t learn an awful lot more than that. In traditional X-Files style, this issue leaves us with more questions than answers.
Sometimes that lack of clarity can be a problem, but it works quite well in this case. It’s a slow paced issue; writer Joe Harris and artist Matthew Dow Smith seem content to slowly bring about a sinister atmosphere rather than charging forward into the plot. There’s a quiet sense of foreboding in this issue. It works because Smith’s art is fantastic. If nothing else, X-Files Season 10 has been a great-looking book. There isn’t much dialogue in the opening pages, but the art is arresting enough that it doesn’t need it. The return of colourist Jordie Bellaire helps enormously too. When the dialogue comes in later, it feels far more authentic than it has in recent issues.
For those who jumped ship when Mulder left the TV series and Doggett and Reyes were introduced, spending a whole issue with them may not sound like a cheerful prospect. As with all of the “conspiracy” style stories, you pretty much need to be well-versed in The X-Files lore to get the most out of it. This issue should be fine for new readers, though; while it has its mysteries, it’s a character piece first and foremost. It makes you care about Doggett and Reyes, which is no mean feat. Worth investigating.