The X-Files didn’t have the best ending. The finale episode itself was fine, but the final season was undeniably the weakest of the run. Furthermore it never really had a proper conclusion with many plot threads left dangling. So it’s absolutely perfect that X-Files now has its own comic book series that continues directly from the show.
Series creator Chris Carter and writer Joe Harris co-plot the issue while Harris handles the actual writing of the script. The amount of influence Carter has exercised is unclear, but his presence adds an official air to the series. With him aboard we’re being told this isn’t an imitation. Although the delivery method may be different, Mulder and Scully are back.
One of the most interesting things about the new comic series is that it begins in modern day. The TV series was very much rooted in the 90’s, but here it’s pulled right up to 2013. Mulder and Scully are now living a quiet life under new names, an extension of what we saw in the 2008 movie, the last time we checked in with the couple. However we learn this a little later when the story steps backwards a few hours. The issue actually opens with Scully running for her life from a group of mysterious hooded figures. Alien, human or something else, we have no idea. When they begin to catch up with her we cut to a panel showing the logo and are left in the dark as to what her fate is. It’s a fun effect that may sound gimmicky but actually works staggeringly well at simulating the show. It feels as if we’ve just watched the intro teasing what’s to come before jumping away and leaving us guessing.
Since this is an official continuation it’s important that the characters sound right, so happily I can announce that the character work is spot-on, everyone sounds exactly as they should. It’s actually challenging not to hear their voices as you read the dialogue.
The artwork, by Michael Walsh, looks simple at first glance but it’s deceptively detailed. Characters resemble their actors identically and this is maintained expertly across the entire issue. Never does it slip in its depictions. There’s an almost pulpy vibe to it that fits the larger than life goings on. Thanks to Jordie Bellaire’s colours daytime scenes are brightly lit and give things a safe relaxing vibe, while at night everything is much more shadowed and sinister coloured almost entirely with greys and blues, beautifully matching the change in story.
Even those with only a passing knowledge will find something to enjoy here. It capitalises on prior experience but it doesn’t depend on them either. But clearly the real primary audience here is the old fans. To us the issue feels inherently familiar, it’s like meeting up with a group of old friends. Everything is so masterfully duplicated it makes you wonder just why it took them so long to do this. The format has been understandably tweaked to accommodate the comic book formula but it’s done so masterfully you don’t even notice. Bluntly put: it feels precisely like the show did.
That perfect X-Files feel is a large part of why this is such a fun issue. It’s one of the most effective emulations of source material I’ve seen in a comic book. Everything that was great about the TV show is here, the theme has been entirely encapsulated. If you were a fan of the show there’s no reason not to check this out.
Want more X-Files articles? Check out this post for a list of all of the X-Files content this week.