Tony Black reviews issue #9 of The X-Files: Season 10 comic run, ‘Chitter’…
Written by Joe Harris
Art by Greg Scott
We have a new face of horror in The X-Files, and it is called ‘the Chittering God’. After the mythology-heavy opening issues and sequel monster of the week story, Joe Harris delivers a creeping one-shot in ‘Chitter’, which you can almost imagine as a mid-season chiller during the height of the show’s run. From a deeply unnerving opening series of panels through to a conclusive but equally open-ended climax, Harris’ story delivers in terms of low-fi, old school frights. The cht cht cht cht sound is the kind that would have burrowed into the mind and not let go, had you heard it on screen, and even on the page in its dark, weird form it’s unsettling.
From a narrative standpoint, it’s good to see Mulder & Scully back in their old groove in the FBI, swapping banter as they assist on the case of missing children in Millersburg, Pennsylvania; Harris writes Mulder particularly well, really has an ear for his dialogue, and it was good to see here a call back to his Violent Crimes days as new AD Anna Morales pops up, briefly, to remind us she’s still there & get Mulder in on the basis of his profiling skills. It’s a nice touch, and connects the story as much to the dark Millennium vein as The X-Files (no bad thing). If it lacks anything it’s much exploration of the scarab as a presence, briefly Mulder rolling off some folklore but that’s about it. Perhaps that’s the point.
The manner in how the Chittering God affects Scully is also interesting, given she seems to taste the same bile in the back of her throat and be marked as a victim; indeed by the end, you get the distinct impression that Harris intends to revisit the strangeness that our agents investigate here – there’s just something in the ending which suggests he’s not quite done. That could be reading too much into it, but if ‘Chitter’ was revisited that would be no bad thing – thanks to Harris’ writing and some dark, colour washed and grimy panels from Greg Scott, the whole piece has a really eerie and creepy feel to it which rests in the vein of the kind of creature-feature, icky episodes of The X-Files that would employ bugs or wildlife to good effect.
Let’s hope we see more of the Chittering God in the future.
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