X-Files Season 10, #13: Review

After a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, Mulder and Scully are dispatched to the Middle East. While their subsequent investigation reveals Black Oil, the biggest oddity it uncovers is Alex Krycek, Mulder’s former partner and longtime frenemy, who (it seems) has returned from the dead. Well, maybe.

Here’s the official word from IDW:

“Black oil” has returned and along with it, the long-dead double agent Alex Krycek. In order to solve the mystery of Krycek’s return, Mulder and Scully seek help from the Lone Gunmen, who seem to have trouble of their own.

As some might expect writer Joe Harris has spent the last few arcs of this new X-Files series revisiting sacred ground. And whyXFiless10-13-cvrSUB-copy-c6c66 not? If IDW is hoping to snare old fans, reprising fan favorites is a great tactic — loyal readers have been able to get updated doses of Flukeman, Smoking Man, and with this current arc, the infamous Black Oil. But what they weren’t always getting was something new. Until now. Yes, with “Black Oil” Harris is reprising two old-school stalwarts, the aforementioned Black Oil and the suddenly alive Alex Krycek. But what he’s finally offering is this: a time-traveling (or is it time splicing?) tale that delivers on that perennial X-Files promise: a creepy story, told in a creepy way. This is all to say that I love Harris’ new arc. And it just keeps getting stranger and stranger. With issue #13 Harris dives deeper into the mystery of Alex Krycek’s return, but with such restraint that I wanted more.

Matthew Dow Smith is perfect for this title — he captures the great balance between hyper-detail and suggestion, crafting panels that narrow on the action at hand while referencing previous issues. Think flashbacks, but without the flash. It works well here.

From the beginning IDW claimed that X-Files: Season 10 would ostensibly be a continuation of the show that millions of geeks fell in love with back in the ‘90s. Well, with issue #13 it totally delivers on that promise.


+Best Art of the Series So Far +Best Artist, Too

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