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|Series:||WildStorm TXF #3|
|Published:||21 January 2009|
|Cover date:||March 2009|
|Date(s):||January 21, 1961 & February 8, 2009|
In Chongqing, China on January 21, 1961 at 2:47 p.m., a group of elderly Chinese men watch as a heavily pregnant woman gives birth. One of the men helps deliver the baby then holds the newborn child up, in esteem, happily announcing that the "glory days" are returning.In San Francisco on Tuesday, January 8, 2009 at 11:47 p.m., another elderly Chinese man, Harold Li, is running along the Golden Gate Bridge, hurrying away from a shadowed person holding a knife. The mysterious man's hand is marked with a certain symbol and bloodily plunges the knife into the old man. At about 1 a.m., Chieu Shi, an elderly Chinese woman, is sitting in her bathtub at home as a man stands in nearby shadow, holding a knife in a hand marked with the same particular symbol. He raises his fist, clutching onto the knife, and strangles the woman, leaving her lifeless body in the bathtub, surrounded by blood. Officer Callis notifies Agents Mulder and Scully of the unexplained murders.
The three investigators are at San Francisco City Morgue on Wednesday at 10:23 a.m., looking at the victims' deceased bodies. Although Officer Callis reveals that he and his men have not established a connection between the victims, Mulder notices that each of the two bodies has been marked with gouges - in the shape of the symbol that their murderer bore - and refers to the patterns as Tong symbols, suspecting that they are a nasty calling card. Scully mentions that both victims were strangled and deduces that the markings must have been cut before each victim's death. Mulder considers that the victims may have died while willfully practicing "kinky" strangulations but Scully deems that possibility to be unlikely and wonders why she and Mulder have been called upon to investigate the case, as it seems to be merely a gruesome but common homicide. Officer Callis notifies the agents of the weirdest aspect of the cases; both victims were, according to the coroner's initial report, murdered at virtually the same time even though DNA and fingerprints found by C.S.I. on both victims match, in both cases. Because Callis is eager to leave, he and the agents depart from the morgue together.
As they head outside, Mulder relates to Scully that he considers the case to be an X-file because, in his opinion, the killer obviously somehow managed to murder two people in completely different locations, at exactly the same time. Callis tells the agents, before they drive away, that his team are waiting for an answer to whether the fingerprints can be identified and offers to keep the agents apprised of this situation.
The agents discuss the case in their car - where Mulder reiterates his conclusion that the Tong symbol carved into both bodies is a message or, as Scully suggests, a warning - and in a Chinatown restaurant - where Scully mentions that the Tongs either no longer exist or, if it did, has transformed itself into legitimate organizations. In the restaurant, Mulder recounts that some Tong sects were well versed in Chinese mysticism, which he obliquely suggests may be responsible, and receives a call from Officer Callis, who relays news that the fingerprints are those of businessman Wilson Chan.
The agents then visit Chan's offices, discovering that they don't seem to be the typical criminal lair, but are told by his secretary that he has been out of the country for the past week. According to the secretary, Chan is due to arrive at about 6:30, that night. Mulder receives another call from Officer Callis and learns that another murder has been committed.
In an alley in Chinatown, officers peer up at the third victim, an elderly Chinese male whose body has been splayed against a wall. The man in charge of the officers tells Mulder and Scully that his team discovered the victim in the position he is still in, that the alley is covered with fingerprints that have been scanned and sent to Washington, and that the victim has been identified as Yao Hwang, a sixty-eight year-old who lives in Sausalito. Although the authoritative man tells Mulder that no witnesses were found in the area, the man admits that the locals pretty much prefer to keep information within Chinatown. Having been investigating the fingerprints that cover the alley while Mulder has been talking to the other man, Scully reports that one set of the prints has been confirmed as belonging to Wilson Chan.
In San Francisco Airport at 6:35 p.m., the agents await Chan's arrival. Scully comments that Chan could not have committed the murders if he has been in China, and Mulder wonders why the suspect's fingerprints and DNA were found in relation to the murders if he has been away. After Mulder recognizes Chan, the agents approach him, introducing themselves, and, despite having endured a long flight, Chan accepts their request to question him in connection with their murder investigation, inviting them to accompany him in his waiting limousine.
While Chan reacts innocently but defensively to the agent's interrogation, they tell him that Tong symbols were gouged into the victims and Mulder professes to the businessman that his fingerprints were found at the murder scenes. Chan answers that his fingerprints are easily obtainable, due to his particular business, and then enlightens the agents on the history of the Tong organization, assuring Scully and Mulder that the Tong no longer exist.
Meanwhile, atop a catwalk in a factory, four people are murdered by the killer who, with his marked hand, uses his knife to cut the same Tong symbol into one of the victim's chest before strangling another and tossing the victims into a vat.
In Chan's limo, the businessman supposes that, even if the Tong still existed, they would be social clubs for nostalgic elders. Despite Scully's assurances to the contrary, Chan questions if he is being accused of the murders, although he also cites the fact that he has been in Hong Kong. Mulder simultaneously answers a call that informs him there has been yet another murder. Tired of their inquiries, Chan impatiently dismisses the agents.
Upon arriving at the factory where the latest victims were killed, Mulder and Scully are met by a man who indicates that the vat into which the victims were dropped contains a substance that is highly lethal to humans. The man, a local FBI agent who introduces himself as Henry Oh, is extremely friendly to the agents, sharing a joke with Mulder and recalling that he has previously heard about the duo; although he has heard mostly nothing good about them, he is still pleased to meet them. As one of the victims is being lifted out of the vat with a harness, Scully comments that the four simultaneous murders show that the killer is becoming cocky and Mulder notes that the fact all the victims have been older than sixty correlates with Chan having stated that the elderly are nostalgic for the Tong.
Agent Oh takes responsibility for overseeing the processing of the bodies but asks Scully if she would like to participate, since she is a doctor, and, at his headquarters, she gratefully accepts his invitation. He then exhibits the factory's security cam recordings to the other two agents, showing them an indistinct picture of the killer from the recordings. When the trio later view a clearer version of the image, Agent Oh is convinced that the subject is Chan but Scully professes that she and Mulder were in the limo with him when the latest murders took place. Agent Oh submits the theory that identical twins or triplets could be the culprits but Scully refutes this suggestion, as she is aware that twins never have identical fingerprints. Mulder reiterates his suspicion that Chinese mysticism could be involved but Agent Oh does not favor this idea, admitting that similar weird theories are what he had heard about Mulder before encountering him. Agent Oh's female secretary appears with information he had requested about Chan's relatives, one of whom was arrested for a Tong-related murder but was ultimately released when no witnesses were forthcoming. Scully notes that, although Chan has no siblings, there has been multiple members of his family with the same DNA and fingerprints. She is unwilling to recognize Chinese mysticism as the explanation for the murders, however, but Mulder challenges her to otherwise account for the image of the killer from the security recordings, a task that Scully claims to be working on.
In a yard outside Red's Java House, a man, cloaked in shadow, disciplines two men who appear to be virtually identical. The shadowy man complains that their entire operation has been planned for more than sixty years and that, although his own alibi had been secured because he had left the country and gone to Hong Kong, the men have aroused suspicion by committing two murders at the same time, deviating from the plan. One of the physically comparable men tries to explain that the murder victim he was responsible for, Li, overpowered him and ran, delaying the murder for more than an hour, but the other identical man argues that he himself was not at fault. Their mysterious taskmaster blames both men, who try to assure him that they have accounted for everything, including the fingerprints and DNA, and are certain that a connection can never be made to their overseer, as long as he is elsewhere. One of the visually analogous men doubts that the FBI will never believe the truth even if they discover it but, disputing this comment, the mysterious man declares that Mulder is a believer. Soon thereafter, the murderous twins kill an elderly truck driver stopped at a petrol station and steal his vehicle.
Walking beside Mulder under the Golden Gate Bridge, Scully reflects that, despite her numerous experiences over the years, she continues to have a need for rationality. She criticizes mysticism but, when she likens it to faith, Mulder reminds her that she wears a cross as a sign of her faith and wonders why she can readily accept one imperceptible thing yet dismiss another. Scully refers to her cross as the reason she keeps looking and she as well as Mulder are silhouetted by the moon. The agents suddenly notice the truck - driven by the twins - as the vehicle nears, and run from the truck but it speeds after them, crashing into a wall and exploding in a fiery blaze.
- The bottom of this comic's last page of story has the words, "To Be Continued". The story is concluded in the following issue.
- The last page of this issue is the first in WildStorm Comics' series of The X-Files comics to feature only a single frame.
- This issue was released with one cover.
- Like the variant cover of the first issue in the series, the cover of this issue features numerous characters that do not appear in the story itself, including Owen Lee Jarvis, Victor Stans, an alien, the Flukeman and an Alien Bounty Hunter.
- In its series, this is the first issue that was not written by Frank Spotnitz and the first on which Carlos Badilla alone worked on the color art.
- Writer: Marv Wolfman
- Brian Denham (interior art)
- Carlos Badilla (color art)
- Ed Dukeshire (letter art)
- James Daly III (cover art)
- Tim Bradstreet (cover art)
- Editor: Shannon Eric Denton
- THE X-FILES created by Chris Carter
|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)|