After a mythology-heavy first story arc, IDW’s comic continuation of The X-Files begins a new tale in a format where many would argue that the show was at its best: Stand-alone monster of the week stories. As an old fan of the show myself, I was pretty excited. I used to really enjoy the giant, sprawling conspiracy that the show was weaving until it began collapsing on itself like a never ending second season episode of Twin Peaks. But the return of the infamous Flukeman from way back in the show’s second season holds all types of promise. Is it good?
X-Files: Season 10 #6 (IDW Publishing)
X-Files: Season 10 #6 includes a new penciler, Elena Casagrande, who seems to fit the series much better. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing at all wrong with the artwork of Michael Walsh (artist for issues #1-5). But Casagrande’s cleaner/slicker pencils feel a bit more in line with how we should have the well-established X-Files universe presented to us.
Unfortunately, Joe Harris’ story almost feels too slavishly devoted to presenting itself as being just like an old episode of the X-Files. We start with an opening mysterious death scene followed by Mulder and Scully getting an assignment (while complaining about the oppressive beaurocratic process that constantly surrounds their attempts to find the truth). Then it’s off to the town of said weird sighting/unexplained murder, where they inevitably (and predictably) butt heads with local law enforcement. Scully is then shuttled off to the lab to find where she discovers something shocking at the same Mulder heads out into the field is put into mortal peril.
It’s basically a paint-by-numbers early season X-Files episode featuring an old fan favorite creature with some new wrinkles added (pun completely intended).
- Great artwork by Elena Casagrande
- Joe’s writing of the dialogue between Mulder and Scully continues to be spot on.
- A paint-by-numbers early season X-Files story that feels far too predictable.
Is It Good?
A cookie cutter episode of the X-Files can still make for a damn tasty cookie, especially with this creative team. While the plot’s familiarity may seem a little stale, Harris continues to do an excellent job giving Mulder and Scully the exact same voice and banter that we would expect not only from the characters we knew before, but as they would be at this point in their relationship. Excluding the scene from the first issue when Scully started crying like Claire Danes in ‘Homeland’, he’s been about as spot on with the dialogue and character actions/reactions as you could possibly hope for.
Watch out, random teenagers! It’s a deadly recycle plot.
But while the ending left a very intriguing possibility both for the plot and Casagrande’s art next issue, this all felt like stuff we had seen and done before. When the show was on television, the only price we had to pay for a full episode was having to sit through Fox’s promos for its other shows. Now, however, we are paying $4 not only for a plot that not only can be predicted by even the most casual X-Files fan, but doesn’t even give us a full story (the issue ends right about the time the third commercial break would occur). There’s definitely a trade off in our favor for the story moving to comic format (no special effects budget limits, every character from the show’s run is available, etc), but all we got with this one was a sort of new version of the Flukeman. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s probably not what most of us were hoping for.
To be fair, this was just the first issue of the arc. Harris could have some pretty cool stuff planned that completely turns the story on its head. But as of now, it feels like a decent remix that isn’t very different from the original.