The new review from Christopher Irish is up for the new season. We have a new relationship with IDW Comics for The X-Files, season 11, and hope to offer the best insight possible, but that is really up to the fans to determine that. Once again, Chris’s work is always a pleasure to read. Feel free to drop us input about how we are doing. – Matt
Season 11 “Cantus” Issue 1
Written by: Joe Harris Art by: Matthew Dow Smith Colors by: Jordie Bellaire Letters by: Chris Mowry Editor: Denton J. Tipton Executive Producer: Chris Carter
This new season begins with a recap of season 10’s events. The main story begins in Zion National Park in Utah. A group of people are being led into a cave by a mysterious figure in a hood. The hooded person talks to a man wearing goggles and walking ahead of him who is working on a handheld device. We find out they’re heading to some sort of work site. The man working the device talks to the hooded person while he tries to get the device to work. Unable to get the machine to work, he hands it to the hooded person. Another one of the members walks ahead and we find out it’s the leader, a redheaded lady named Tyler. They mention that if the signal is weak, it could mean someone else might be using the signal at the same time. Tyler says it could be the proverbial “Men In Black” and recounts information about the government losing track of a sophisticated spy satellite. We find out that she and the rest are part of a salvage team, most likely working towards finding this supposed lost satellite. Tyler talks to one of the members who was questioning her while working on the tracker and calls him Mr. Blake. The rest of the team teases him about having the worst codename “Anthony Blake” and how it sounds like an old TV character. The frame shows a clear shot of Agent Fox Mulder with a fake moustache as a disguise. (This is a new look for him; in all the seasons of The X-Files and all of Season 10 I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mulder with a ‘stache. Given his proclivity toward adult entertainment, I think it’s long overdue).
The redheaded woman corrects the man, saying it’s Bill Bixby the Magician they’re thinking of. They discuss further details of Blake’s suspicion that the satellite that supposedly burned up actually had parts that survived, hence the salvage team. The redhead tells the group that if they manage to find the downed satellite they could have a future. Just as Tyler gets a lock on the signal, Blake mentions that the present concerns him more, and that if they knew what he knows about the future they’d be worried.
The next scene opens in Jose Marti International Airport, in Havana, Cuba. We see people boarding a plane. One of them is Scully, who turns to look at a person walking down the alley out of frame but who has a vaguely familiar mouth line. She turns down and looks at a file titled “Cantus”. The plane takes off in the next frame.
Now in Virginia, Scully is working on her laptop late at night. She types in “trust_nnl@x_” to check her messages, and has none. The next panel is a familiar one, Scully sitting before an FBI investigative panel to explain herself sans Mulder. The board mentions that Assistant Director Skinner has been placed on administrative leave and that Scully has no idea of the whereabouts of Agent Fox Mulder, who is wanted for questioning. The board warns Scully that the Attorney General is considering pressing felony charges. Scully reiterates that she hasn’t heard from Mulder in two months and has no idea where he is. They bring up the efforts made to streamline the X-Files, using a consultancy and efficiency contractor the Bureau has hired called “Cantus”. Scully is familiar with it and lets them know she is aware of the organization’s efforts.
The next scene is back with Mulder and the salvage crew, who have found the downed satellite. She instructs two of them to make their way back to their truck to lock it up while the rest of them work. Mulder (or Blake) and Jasco (another member of the salvage team) make their way back, hefting a large box along with them. Jasco complains about Tyler and Mulder deflects. On the way down Mulder mentions that he heard something. Jasco says it’s just the echo of the canyon as they make their way down a slope. Once at the bottom, Jasco continues to talk about Tyler. He warns Mulder that she’s “up in his business” and if he’s not careful she’ll continue to be wary of him. Mulder tells Jasco to watch his step, but he doesn’t listen and continues to talk about Tyler. As he does this he trips over a rock and falls to the ground. Mulder helps him up and offers to take the heavy end. Jasco claims that Tyler may have taken credit for allowing him to join the group, but says it was actually him that convinced her. Right then he also mentions that he didn’t tell her who he really is; he pulls a knife and says there is a reward out for him since he’s an FBI fugitive. Mulder falls back as Jasco lunges with the knife, but Mulder sends him staggering with a solid karate chop to the thigh. Mulder tells him that he’s only after the satellite wreckage and if he can take it he’ll leave him and the group out of it. Jasco doesn’t listen and claims that Mulder is just setting the group up. Right before the fight can resume they hear an ominous growling noise behind them. It turns out to be a pack of wolves. One wolf jumps on Jasco, and before Mulder can help him he’s killed with a bloody “ggggglrg”. Mulder tries to get back to the equipment as a blood-covered wolf approaches. An odd speech bubble tells Mulder that he has to retrieve the communications hardware from the Medici Satellite. Mulder says it’s not going to be easy and that he won’t do anything else till he knows how Scully is doing. The wolves take off down the canyon and Mulder tells them the team are just scavengers and not mercenaries. The wolves, who are inexplicably communicating with Mulder, warn him to remember who his friends are as they move down the canyon.
Back to Scully, who’s being grilled on her unauthorized trip to Cuba. As one panel member brings this up, another one falls asleep but another suffers an ischemic stroke and won’t remember any of the proceedings, while the main panel member narrates both occurrences. Scully says “My god, Gibson” as she pulls her phone out to call in a medical emergency. She begins to assist the panel members, who have all passed out now. The scene ends with the face of the member who had the stroke, and it’s A.D. Morales.
Now in Beaverton, Utah, we find ourselves with The Lone Gunmen. Frohike is talking to Mulder about getting back home. As they finish their talk, the other two Gunmen open the sliding door of the old VW bus they work out of and tell Mulder and Frohike that they have something. They have discovered that the chipset from the downed satellite was manufactured by Cantus, the same organization that the panel brought up to Agent Scully. The communications chip they’ve been working on has a signal the satellite picked up on before it went down. They haven’t figured out what it is yet, but they continue to work on it. They are able to tell that the satellite received this signal about 15 minutes before it entered the atmosphere, which leads them to believe that it didn’t crash in error. The two possibilities are that someone caused the satellite to crash or someone else shot it down.
Back to Scully, she is in Mulders dungeon-office. A familiar speech bubble-the same one the wolves had- comes up telling her he was wondering when she’d be back. A man is in the office and tells her that he needs Mulder’s help now. She tells the man that he knows where he is. It turns out that the man is Gibson as Scully accuses him of being a traitor and tells him that he’s out of his mind. She pulls her gun on him, but he uses his mind’s power to snatch the gun from her hand. Scully asks where Mulder is and Gibson tells her that he’s serving to do what he needs him to do. Scully asks what she’s supposed to do and he tells her to help him as he telepathically hovers a file to her.
The issue ends with Mulder. We’ll leave it at that and keep the review spoiler-free. The ending does leave you wanting to continue with the upcoming Season 11 #2 however. This season has started off strong. The artwork is excellent and it capitalizes on new aspects brought forth from Season 10 and starts to lay groundwork for another season full of twists, turns, and heavy X-Files conspiracies for our duo to navigate through. We shall see how it goes as this exciting series progresses!
Special thanks to Liz Tray for Editorial assistance.