|Series:||WildStorm TXF #0|
|Published:||23 July 2008|
|Cover date:||September 2008|
SummaryAt 5:04 a.m., a man searches through a littered house in Brick Church, Indiana, looking for money as he passes a bloodied corpse of an elderly man he obliquely refers to, cursing. When the looter hears a scratching noise nearby, he becomes puzzled and follows the sound to find it is coming from inside a locked cellar, where a voice pleads for assistance. Smashing through the door with an ax, the man steps inside the cellar. He is still confused as to who is inside the room until he switches on a light bulb and sees the thin figure of a frail, blond woman, who voices her gratitude as she sits, doubled over, on the ground. When her body apparently goes limp, however, the man approaches, curious to determine if she is okay. She hatefully glares at the man, revealing herself to be a grisly ogress, and he stares back at her, terrified and agape.
At 3:20 p.m., the exterior of the same house bustles with activity as FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully arrive, introducing themselves to a sheriff who accompanies them from their car to the house as Mulder mentions that a missing woman has been found after seventeen years, not having aged a day. Inside the house, the sheriff tells the agents that the farmer who lived there, Virgil Candless, has already been taken to the morgue with a crushed skull and that the farmer was initially suspected of having been the victim of a robbery homicide until, as Mulder concludes, the content of the building's basement was officially found. The agents inspect the body of Robin Benty, the woman who had been missing for the past seventeen years and now lies dead in the basement. She is the same blond woman who previously frightened the looter but her facial features now seem like those of a perfectly healthy yet lifeless eighteen-year old, the age she was at when she disappeared. Scully determines that the woman must have died within the past twelve hours and informs Mulder that she has found no visible signs of trauma. The sheriff reveals that fingerprints were found on the ax handle and guesses that they belong to Virgil Candless' killer, a conclusion that Mulder agrees with. As he later drives Scully and himself away from the house, they discuss possible theories, although Mulder is initially reluctant to participate in theorizing until he has learned more about Virgil Candless. Scully suggests that elevated levels of a particular anti-aging hormone could feasibly account for the seemingly unaged condition of the woman's body.
In Pecksburg, Indiana at 6:24 pm, the looter screeches his truck to a halt in an alley, where he meets a bald man. Although the truck driver seems eager for something in particular, the bald man refuses to hand it over without sufficient cash. The truck driver threatens that he will simply take it instead, puzzling the bald man, who is then strangled by the truck driver.
At 8:01 p.m., Mulder and Scully meet in an examination room where Robin Benty's deceased body now lies. Scully informs Mulder that she has found nothing to indicate the victim's cause of death and Mulder reveals his discovery that the farmer's name was actually Arthur Rakey, not Virgil Candless. According to Mulder, Rakey had been awaiting trial for a series of strangulation murders when he had escaped, by killing a guard, only hours before Robin Benty had last been seen, prior to her disappearance, being helped by an unidentified man with her parked car. Mulder comes to the conclusion that the man was Arthur Rakey and that he had then secretly imprisoned Robin Benty, explaining why she had been in his cellar while he had been living under the guise of a pseudonym. Scully disagrees with Mulder's theory, citing Benty's mysteriously healthy appearance as opposing evidence.
At 10:13 p.m., the truck driver enters a grocery store, passing a scantily clad female customer. After he makes a purchase, producing a large wad of cash, the young woman follows him outside and sexually propositions him.
At 10:41 p.m., Mulder and Scully are with the sheriff at Franklin County Sheriff's Station. Both the sheriff, who refers to the killed farmer as "Virgil", and Mulder remark that the sudden mellowing that the farmer supposedly underwent seems inexplicable but their conversation is interrupted when the sheriff receives news of another murder. At the scene of the crime, Scully at first suspects that the recent victim's skull was also crushed, like that of Virgil Candless, but the sheriff tells her that the murder was really a strangulation - the victim was the bald man who was killed by the truck driver. Scully notes that the victim's throat was crushed and Mulder immediately realizes that the killer used his bare hands, mystifying Scully as to how he arrived at that determination. The sheriff notifies the agents of the official findings that the killer was probably a particular local drug addict named Terry Wintrid and that the victim had been his dealer. Mulder suspects Wintrid of having been at the farmhouse, making a connection between both the farmer's skull and the dealer's throat having been similarly crushed. Mulder believes that, when Wintrid smashed open the basement door in the farmhouse, he unleashed what the farmer had been keeping imprisoned there for many years.
At a motel in Pecksburg, Indiana at 1:11 a.m., Wintrid and the prostitute are lying in a disheveled bed. The woman stands and is reaching into the back pocket of Wintrid's jeans when he catches her. Even though she tries to excuse her behavior by claiming that she was having trouble sleeping, Wintrid slaps her face hard with his bare hand, threatens to kill her if she touches his money again and orders her back to bed.
Once again, Mulder talks with Scully as he drives himself and her along a road. He argues that the sudden initiation and cessation of Virgil Candless' murderous impulses supports a theory that the farmer had been possessed by a force of evil that had, following Robin Benty's abduction by the farmer, dwelled in her body in the basement for years. When Scully wonders why Benty did not attack Wintrid, if she had indeed been possessed, Mulder suggests that the force had instead found a better host in Wintrid, leaving Benty to die.Meanwhile, the sheriff answers a call from the prostitute, who warns him about Wintrid having threatened her. Outside the motel, Mulder and Scully quietly rendezvous with the sheriff, who has gathered a team of his deputies there. Mulder offers to enter the building first, with the sheriff's men behind him, and the sheriff grins at Mulder's demonstration of bravado before leaving the agents alone. Mulder explains to Scully that, if he is correct, Wintrid will refuse to surrender until shot dead and the evil force could jump into the body of any one of the deputies without the others knowing. Mulder therefore intends to chemically sedate Wintrid but Scully insists that she accompany Mulder, in case he misses. The agents and deputies force their way into the motel, startling both the prostitute and Wintrid, who takes the prostitute hostage. Despite Mulder's attempt to help Wintrid, the sheriff shoots him dead and the freed prostitute runs to the safety of the sheriff.
At FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. two days later, Scully informs Mulder in his basement office that, according to the prostitute's social worker, she is fine. Scully also mentions that the sheriff's deputies likewise seem normal and that the girl in the basement was found to have had elevated levels of the anti-aging hormone that Scully suggested earlier as a possibility for the girl's unaged appearance. Scully considers that the case may not have actually been an X-file at all, believing that some evidence of the force's progression to a new host would have shown up if it had existed at all. Unbeknown to Scully, however, in the grocery store where the prostitute first met Wintrid, the prostitute now looks at the result of a pregnancy test that is over ninety-nine-point-nine percent accurate and sees that it is positive.
- This issue was published with both a standard and variant cover. Retailers were advised, prior to the release of the issue, that they could order one copy of the variant edition for every ten copies they ordered of the standard edition.
- The standard cover of this issue incorporates an image that was also used as a theatrical poster for The X-Files: I Want to Believe, which was released, in the United States, two days after this comic.
- The variant cover features many characters not included in the story itself, such as the three Lone Gunmen, Walter Skinner, the Flukeman, a faceless alien, Alex Krycek, the Cigarette Smoking Man and X.
- In the events of this comic, Arthur Rakey's escape and Robin Benty's disappearance are both said to have happened in 1991. Robin Benty is also established as having gone missing "seventeen years ago this month", setting the comic in 2008. This does not coincide well with several other indications of time setting - including the designs of Mulder and Scully's physical appearances and the fact that they are clearly working for the FBI during the events of the plot - as these contradict The X-Files: I Want to Believe, which is set in 2008.
- The car driven by Mulder in this comic has the number plate "IMDE THS". This is probably a reference to the fact that each episode of The X-Files television series ends with a sample of the young son of regular sound designer Thierry Couturier saying, "I made this".
- The time of 10:13 p.m. in this comic is one of many references, in The X-Files, to the number ten thirteen, as it is a regular in-joke and was originally the birth-date (13 October) of series creator Chris Carter.
- The motel where Terry Wintrid and the prostitute stay is named Manners Motel, a likely in-joke reference to Kim Manners.
- In the first scene set in the motel, when the prostitute tries to steal Wintrid's money, she can be seen standing beside a television that displays a picture of a man who is seemingly Frank Black.
- The bottom of this comic's last page of story states, "The mystery continues in X-Files #1 this fall!" Even though the first three issues of WildStorm Comics' series of The X-Files comics were written by the same writer, Frank Spotnitz, and despite all issues containing appropriately mysterious stories, this issue is a stand-alone story and its plot does not continue in any other issue. The story's open conclusion, allowing for future possibilities to further the plot, is in keeping with other stories in The X-Files series.
- This comic was published with a one-page guide on each of Mulder and Scully, accompanied by a full body frontal image of each of the two characters, as well as a page containing brief interviews with Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz.
Gallery of cover art
- Writer: Frank Spotnitz
- Brian Denham (interior illustrator & variant cover art)
- Kelsey Shannon (color art)
- Ed Dukeshire (letter art)
- Editor: Shannon Eric Denton
- THE X-FILES created by Chris Carter
- Fox Mulder
- FBI agent who investigates X-files and has bravery that some people consider to be foolhardiness
- Dana Scully
- Mulder's skeptical FBI partner, who investigates X-files with him. Unlike Mulder, she has enough medical expertise to examine victims' bodies
- Terry Wintrid
- Drug addict who raided Virgil Candless'/Arthur Rakey's farmhouse for money and unwittingly unleashed an evil force that possessed him. He then strangled his drug dealer, made a purchase at a grocery store and took a prostitute to a motel room, where he assaulted and threatened her after she tried to steal his money. When a team of deputies as well as Agents Mulder and Scully broke into the room, Wintrid took the prostitute hostage and listened as Mulder tried to persuade him to accept help but was shot dead by a sheriff who also entered the room.
- Virgil Candless/Arthur Rakey
- Murderer, using the name Arthur Rakey, who suddenly started killing in 1991, crushing his victim's throats, but was awaiting trial for a series of strangulation murders when, in that year, he escaped by killing a prison guard. He suddenly stopped killing immediately after his escape. Seventeen years later, he was a meek, old man named Virgil Candless, living as a farmer in Brick Church, Indiana until his death, after which his house was raided by Terry Wintrid. His skull was crushed and his body was almost immediately sent to the morgue.
- Robin Benty
- Blond-haired woman who was aged eighteen in 1991, when she was seen by a witness, being helped with her car by an unidentified man, and immediately then suddenly went missing. When she was found by Terry Wintrid years later, she had a gruesome facial appearance but, less than twelve hours after frightening him, she was found dead, having apparently resumed an unaged but otherwise relatively normal appearance, bearing no abrasions, contusions or signs of any kind of violence. Elevated levels of an anti-aging hormone were later found in her blood.
- Uniformed man assigned to investigate the same case as Agents Mulder and Scully. He is helpful to them and is aware, prior to meeting them, that they investigate X-files.
- Wintrid's dealer
- Bald man who regularly sold drugs to Terry Wintrid but, on one night, refused to do business with him unless he received sufficient funds. He was then strangled by Wintrid and his throat was crushed by Wintrid's bare hands.
- Scantily clad, female prostitute. She watched Terry Wintrid make a purchase at a grocery store and became interested when he payed with a large wad of cash, following him out of the premises and asking him if he wanted to "have some fun". After they went to a motel, the prostitute attempted to steal Wintrid's money but was assaulted by him. Her life was also threatened by Wintrid but she later called the sheriff to warn him that her life was endangered, telling him where she was and managing to recall only Wintrid's first name. She was startled when a team of deputies as well as Agents Mulder and Scully broke into the room where she was lying in bed with Wintrid and was taken hostage by him. She unsuccessfully struggled to break free and, after Wintrid was killed by the sheriff, she ran to embrace the sheriff in a relieved hug. Subsequently, according to her social worker in Indiana, she was fine. She soon discovered, though, that she was apparently pregnant.
- Black grocery store worker who wore glasses. He served Terry Wintrid, charging him $12, and asked the prostitute if she wanted something, to which she replied, referring to Wintrid, that she thought she had just found it.
|Stories in WildStorm Comics' range of The X-Files comics|
|Issue #0||Issues #1 & #2||Issues #3 & #4|
|Issues #5 (Dante's Muse Part I: Nasty Ones) & #6 (Dante's Muse Part II: Netherworld)|