The covers: Three is the magic number for the covers this month. The Regular is by Francesco Francavilla with our pair of stalwart agents standing front and center with a giant fetus behind them sporting horns and yellow eyes. Off to the far left are three individuals concealed in cloaks against a tree. Within the image of the X is a star field. This is a great, sinister combination of images that makes the book ominous even before it’s opened. The RI cover is by Menton3 that spotlights the issue’s newest oddity, Joanie Cartwright as both knight and angel. Which is she? Either? Both? Neither? A good tease for the reader before and after reading. The Subscription cover is, again, an awesome picture of Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny as leads Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. This is a rare shot of the pair outside, in daylight, with Fox sans jacket. Overall grades: Regular A, RI A, and Subscription A+
The story: Joe Harris’s first part of “Immaculate” opens in Murphysville, North Carolina. A clinic is already surrounded by protestors bearing signs on the evils of abortion. A very young pregnant girl begins to walk the gauntlet. As she quotes scripture to herself, a voice interrupts, “I will never abandon you, my child.” She replies, “I-I believe you…” The mob looks like animals showing their teeth, but she makes it past the fence and is brought into the facility. The girl acts oddly to the receptionist, though is still admitted for her desired procedure. As she lays on the bed, the outline of a glowing face appears, now saying, “Faith is favored.” The doctor and nurse enter the room. Upon seeing the girl the doctor asks if she’s been in before, and then something very unexpected occurs. It even stuns the angry throng outside. One Page 8 the reader is taken to FBI Headquarters where Mulder and Scully are brought in on the case. This story is much in the vein of a classic H.P. Lovecraft tale as the investigators go into a small town and the weirdness continues to grow and grow until reaching epic proportions on Pages 18 and 22. A great reveal and interruption occurs on 14 and dark dealings rear up on 16. This is a terrific, creepy tale. I’m almost afraid to think what Harris has in store next month. Overall grade: A
The art: The visuals of this book are done by Colin Lorimer. The first seven pages are appropriately eerie. The first page instantly demonstrates sympathy for Joanie as she takes that long walk into the clinic. She’s especially angelic as she turns back to look at the angry protestors in the fifth panel on Page 2. The first visual of “the other” on Page 4 is simple, but so gosh darned scary! The second panel is a slick opposite view of Joanie, while the large panel on 5 is a great overhead view of all the characters immediately involved in the upcoming action. Mulder and Scully look decent; they’re not photo realistic, nor are they so removed from the actors to be completely foreign. The final page is a terrific climax for this installment, with the final panel being a good tease. Overall grade: A-
The colors: This is not a realistically colored book. Do not think that this is a poor job from Joana Lafuente, it’s not. Lafuente splashes one color across a page to create a mood. With exception to the muted flesh on a protestor’s sign, the first two pages are cool blue–the color most associated with a baby boy and innocence. What a smooth way to move a reader with color. Within the clinic colors are primarily white or black, and colors are either muted by the strong light or swallowed by the darkness. Lafuente is an expert in enhancing the theme and emotion of this book. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Neil Uyetake’s job entailed scene setting, dialogue, sounds, and a very interesting dialogue font on Page 14. With exception to this page, the book is the holy trinity for a letterer, and this issue’s story proves it’s the right way to phrase Uyetake’s duties. All look good and allow for easy reading. Overall grade: A
The final line: The truth may be out there, but what if lurks within and doesn’t want to be found? Great, creepy fun. Overall grade: A
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.