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Dante's Muse Part II: Netherworld

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TXF6 cover
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Brian Denham
Publisher: WildStorm Comics
Series: WildStorm TXF #6
Published: 15 April 2009
Cover date: June 2009
Date(s): None given

SummaryEdit

Under the Badlands of South Dakota at 11:53 p.m., FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder regains consciousness but he is at first disoriented. Continuing his audio recording for Scully, he realizes that he has been moved – by whatever stunned him – to a cavern that is entirely unfamiliar to him but where he finds an unconscious Laurie Skye and begins to wonder if they are being kept as offerings of food for one or more devilish beings.

TXF6 Dana Scully talks with deputy

Scully talks with the deputy as he drives them.

Seven miles north of Red Shirt, South Dakota at 12:03 a.m., Scully recounts – for the benefit of the deputy, who is now driving them both in the sheriff's squad car – that Mulder claimed disappearances in the area can be traced back to native legends. The sheriff confirms that this information is accurate although he initially dismisses Mulder's Hollow Earth theories, before discussing the history of local disappearances and joking that he believes in Dante's claims of subterranean entities. The pair of investigators arrive at Dante's trailer, where they find the FBI agents' car (which the deputy at first mistakes for being Mulder's car). They also discover evidence that Dante is in the area and decide to separate, in their search for Mulder.

Underground, Mulder begins to make his way out of the cavern, carrying the comatose Laurie Skye with him, but he is confronted by the same beasts that rendered him unconscious and, after describing the monsters for Scully – verbally comparing them with Dante's descriptions – he flees from the pack of grizzly creatures, still taking Laurie Skye with him.

Elsewhere in the subterranean maze, Scully directs the deputy's attention to footprints she has found, believing some of these were left by Mulder and deciding to follow them into a tunnel.

Mulder – having lost his pursuers in the network of tunnels – has also become lost, himself. He speculates about the vastness of the underground maze. Moments after coming across another cavern, he falls into a pool of black liquid inside the cavern, also dropping Laurie Skye into the thick and murky substance. He hopes it is not destroying the audio recorder in his pocket and sees the silhouette of an approaching figure, carrying a light. Mulder fears that he is stuck, trapped and caught.

Scully and the deputy have meanwhile traced the footprints to Dante's underground shack. As they prepare to enter, Scully advises caution but the deputy assures her that he is well acquainted with Dante's appearance.

TXF6 Fox Mulder encounters Dante

Dante lifts Mulder out of the sludge.

Further underground, Mulder sees that the newcomer is Dante, who helps lift Laurie Skye and Mulder out of the black substance while explaining that the wound on his arm was made when the subterranean creatures – the same beings which Mulder encountered – tried to eat him alive. Holding the torch whose illumination Mulder initially saw, Dante recounts in detail how he was first approached by the beasts and how he was forced to serve them, capturing humans for them to devour, until their influence on him was broken thanks to Mulder's belief in him. Dante plans to lead Mulder, again carrying Laurie Skye, up to ground level. Noticing several of the gnarled creatures nearby, however, Dante announces his defiance to them and ultimately, amid a vocal protest from Mulder, jumps into the black liquid, holding his torch. Dante's timely suicide causes a large explosion to envelop most of the cavern, bringing about a chaotic scene of fiery destruction in which the subterranean beasts are killed; Mulder begins to tackle the creatures, as they come diving through the air toward him.

TXF6 Dana Scully and deputy are blasted by a fiery uprush

Scully and the deputy are blasted by a fiery uprush.

Scully and the deputy have found the hole in the floor of Dante's shack. They sense characteristics of the explosion below them, before an uproar rockets out of the hole, sending Scully falling backward.

Mulder finishes dealing with the beastly monsters, knocking one into the pit below him. He details his escape from the cavern as he flees, beginning to deliver Laurie Skye to safety.

Scully and the deputy are busy making their own escape from the proximity of the shack while rocks around them begin to crumble away.

TXF6 Laurie Skye and Fox Mulder are saved by Dana Scully and deputy

Mulder and a comatose Laurie Skye are saved by Scully (wearing an FBI uniform jacket) and the deputy.

Mulder nears the shack tunnel but his ultimate escape is impeded by the weight of Laurie Skye and the steepness of his climb. Just as he begins to give up hope and the blaze very close below him rises, he hears Scully's voice calling his name and directs her to his position. Scully and the deputy effect the rescue of Mulder – who notifies Scully that he has constantly been making a voice recording for her – and Laurie Skye, who has remained unconscious throughout the ordeal. The group walk toward ground level as the shack is destroyed by the underground fire, which Mulder explains was caused by tar, oil and Dante's final act.

In Red Shirt Hospital at 9:32 a.m., Laurie Skye – who is now finally alert, although her face bears many plasters – talks to the agents, recalling her abduction and the memory she has of one of the monstrous creatures' faces. Mulder informs Scully that he wants to conclude their investigation, making their report to Skinner. Even though Scully is unsure of what to tell Skinner, Mulder implies that he believes their report should entirely pertain to Dante, describe him as a serial killer and omit any mention of the underground monsters.

Background InformationEdit

TXF6 cover art

The cover art for this issue.

  • This is the second issue in its series to have a title and subtitle, being the second of two issues to have both; the previous installment is subtitled Dante's Muse Part I: Nasty Ones. Although the subtitle of this installment (Dante's Muse Part II: Netherworld) appears inside the comic itself, it does not appear on the issue's front cover (in common with the first part of the story).
  • This issue was released with one cover.
  • This installment includes a likely in-joke self-reference by the issue's artist, Brian Denham, when the brand name Denham Jeans Co. can be seen on Laurie Skye's jeans, but this is also seemingly a word-play on the fact that jeans are usually made from denim (a fabric with a similar name to the artist's surname).


CreatorsEdit

  • Writer: Doug Moench
  • Artists:
    • Brian Denham (interior art & cover)
    • Carlos Badilla (color art)
    • Ed Dukeshire (letter art)
    • Kelsey Shannon (cover art)
  • Editor: Shannon Eric Denton
  • THE X-FILES created by Chris Carter

CharactersEdit

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)

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