Joe Harris is known for consistently outstanding work on The X-Files. He also worked on Millennium, Great Pacific, Slingers, Bishop, Snowfall, Firestorm, Cybernary 2.0, Alice Cooper, Spontaneous, Rock Stars, X-Men, X-Force, X-Factor, Generation X, Batman, Creepy, Bloodshot, Nightmare Factory, Vampirella vs Dracula, and more.
Andrew Currie has worked on Jericho, Star Trek, Dr. Who, The Guild, and the X-Files. He has also worked on Action Man, Judge Dredd, JLA, Fantastic Four, X-Men, X-Force, Ultimates, Flash, Boy-1, Thunder Agents, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Punisher, Crisis, Punisher, Wonderman, and more.
Assistant Director Walter Skinner is a fascinating character. Is he a hero or a villain? Readers of the comic and fans of the TV series/ movies have come to understand that he is a man of honor, but also a man who has sometimes failed up to that code. He is a man with a flawed past.
This is the second issue of a short two-issue story arc focusing on Skinner before he joined the FBI. He was a young Marine in Viet Nam. Often, young people sent to war have to make decisions – in situations where there is no good answer.
This is primarily a psychological study of a strong but flawed human being. Although Mulder and Scully are in the story, the protagonist is Skinner. There is very little “action” in the story. Skinner is dealing with his guilt over events in the past. Although he intellectually knows that he did the right thing, he still feels guilty.
Skinner was one of four Marines involved in what may have been a war crime. They are dying of suicide, and Skinner finds himself the last survivor. There is a talisman with possible paranormal qualities, but it is more of a Jungian artifact than a supernatural enemy. The real enemy and the real battle are both inside Skinner’s mind.
Harris manages to capture these characters perfectly. Harris is an immensely talented writer, but he also has a lot of experience and familiarity with these characters. That is what allowed him to deviate from the standard “X–Files tropes.” While this series is known for deep conspiracies, there are none here. This arc is different from others in the series because it downplays many of the typical “X-Files” elements: aliens, paranormal/ supernatural events, etc. In fact, there is only a minor paranormal aspect to this story. This is a human story, and Harris handles it well, imbuing his characters with both vulnerability and dignity.
Currie has experience working with franchises from live media (not only The X-Files, but also Jericho, Star Trek, Dr. Who, and The Guild). He brings it to bear here. He captures these characters, and manages to bring nuance to them.
Harris and Currie have enough moxie to take a risk like this; they have the talent and experience not only to pull it off, but to make it special.
Written by: Joe Harris
Illustrated by: Andrew Currie