The stories have gotten progressively better in Wildstorm’s “X-Files” series. Doug Moench comes on board as the third writer with the first part of an investigation by Mulder and Scully into a possible serial killer who claims that he doesn’t kill anyone and that he works for monstrous ‘nasty ones’ who live underground. After two stories more thriller than horror, this creepy tale is a nice change of pace and shows the broader elements of this property.
The suspected serial killer has been apprehended by local police in the Badlands in South Dakota. Although his name is Edward Blodget, but only responds to the name Dante, and he doesn’t believe in demons despite his seemingly insane ranting about the ‘nasty ones.’ The interrogation of Dante by Mulder is a little heavy on exposition and history, but it’s also interesting, particularly the barely contained joy that Moench injects into Mulder. Dante may be a murder suspect, but Mulder clearly loves discussing these underground dwellers with him.
When Dante escapes police custody after another woman disappears, Mulder is off investigating his home and the underground caves of the Badlands alone. Things go wrong, of course — not before the spooky factor is upped with an odd shack underground and strange carvings in its walls.
Moench has a great handle on the characters and pushes things by having the investigation raise tensions between Mulder and Scully. While previous issues hinted at their differing world views, this issue shows them off and how divisive they can be. Separating the two only helps increase the tension.
Brian Denham is still the one constant over the three stories, his art continually developing as he experiments with ways to tell the story. This issue is some of his best work as he seems to thrive in the shadows and darkness. Not that you’d know there was much darkness thanks to the baffling coloring of Carlos Badilla. For some reason, this creepy story that takes place mostly at night’s base color seems to be yellow with purple as its back-up. Everything is bright and sunny, not fitting with the tone of the issue or the look of the show. Maybe if this was the “X-Files Easter Adventure” issue, I’d understand so many yellows and purples, but, here, they almost ruin the issue, doing a great disservice to Moench and Denham.
“X-Files” continues to be a very solid and enjoyable book, kept consistent by Brian Denham’s art through three different writers. Fans of the eerie, dark “X-Files” type of story will love the shift from the first two stories here. With any luck, next issue’s final issue will end strong and leave readers wanting more -— and Wildstorm has proven they can deliver.