Joe Harris concludes “Hosts” by taking a sidestep to the larger story. The result is an adventure that provides a thrilling tease, but fails to ultimately deliver a compelling adventure as a whole. Pacing issues plod the entire thing down to a series of dialogue scenes meant to deconstruct seemingly related events in Ukraine. The “X-Files Season 10” # 7 still has great art by Casagrande, but the story fails to deliver any sort of satisfying conclusion.
X-Files is close to me. I love it with strange ambition. I was excited to see the beginning of shorter arcs like “Hosts.” Ideally giving the comic a faster pacing, with two issues feeling like one episode of the series, which is true of this arc. Albeit a episode of the series with terrible pacing.
The climax of the story rests with the end of the last issue. Upon returning this month, Harris takes a sidestep to Ukraine. Here the history of the flukemen is touched upon as we’re giving a highly entertaining look at soldiers encountering the beast.
Inexplicably these two threads come together inside the sewer to free Mulder from the plight that seemed so hopeless two weeks ago. It serves as a far too convenient mechanism to save him. Which would be all well and good, but any source of antagonism dies in that sewer. The rest of the issue stays with Mulder and Scully as they try to make sense of what happened.
The dialogue is still sharp, and the characterization on point, but the entire issue felt wasted with exposition that ultimately goes nowhere. It’s a shame because Casagrande’s art still remains beautiful.
Mulder’s body after he is retrieved from the sewer is covered in vicious sores. Casagrande makes sure to translate this pain to the reader. The bright red sores are difficult to look at. Everything in the Ukraine stood out: the harrowing angles, the depiction of the soldiers, and the uncertainty of their plight. The art twists and turns to put you in the position of the lowly soldier ordered to clean out the tank. Casagrande plays with perspective to ensure that you never feel safe as the solider makes his descent. Its clear that something horrible lies in wait for him, but the art keeps you guessing the entire way.
Ultimately, this issue was disappointing. Season 10 has been off to such a great start that it was hard to poke holes in any of the fun. The issues that raised their heads last issue are sadly amplified here to a point of no return.
The adventure is still fun in areas, but really feels like wasted potential. This series isn’t about answers, but when it goes so far out of its way not to give them to you it can become distracting. Here’s hoping that next month can bring back a renewed focus and sense of danger.
Rating: 2.5/5 Skulls.