It seems that the Lone Gunmen’s death in season nine of The X-Files television series was merely a setback! After being reintroduced by Joe Harris early in X-Files: Season 10, the eclectic trio take center stage in the opening chapter of a major cross-over series that will have them interacting with other major franchises in the IDW universe. Is it good?
X-Files: Conspiracy (IDW Publishing)
Langley, Frohike, and Byers are up to their usual combination of sleuthing and shenanigans when they receive an encrypted email from C.E.R.N. (the large hadron collider folks). The files contained within it turn out to be various tabloid-type newspaper articles. Fans of other major IDW series (or just observant readers who have a modicum of pop culture awareness) will recognize the stories as being about the Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Transformers.
What really grabs the Gunmens’ interest, however, is that the articles appear to be from the future. The three of them head out to show their findings to Mulder and Scully, who themselves are working on a very bizarre looking murder case. Mulder is ready to dismiss the message as a prank…until he notices that one of the headlines about an incredibly lethal virus contains information and a picture from the crime scene he’d just left.
With Mulder now fully invested in the case, Frohike tells him that they will continue investigating. One of the leads they start working is the name of a tech company which doesn’t show up on any search engine results.
Langley puts up requests for information about the company on various message boards, which seems a bit stupid for someone so paranoid about being watched. Sure enough, a couple of assholes in business suits show up and start firing of rounds into the Lone Gunmen’s Volkswagen van.
The trio flees with the tech company spooks in hot pursuit. When they try to get the attention of a nearby police car, their pursuers show they mean business by calmly taking it out with a high powered rifle. Fortunately, the Gunmen are able to escape.
Meanwhile, Mulder and Scully begin to piece together evidence from the crime scene they visited earlier. Scully’s initial lab results indicate that they are dealing with a serious bio-terrorism threat. As if on cue, the Gunmen call the agents to let them know that another file has decrypted…and the virus is much worse than Mulder and Scully had imagined.
Is It Good?
I wasn’t sure how I felt about Joe Harris bringing back the Lone Gunmen after their very heroic death in the television series, but this issued showed me why I had missed them so much. Writer Paul Crilley not only hits all the right notes with his dialogue between the trio, but also is able to expertly balance the plot’s humorous and deathly serious elements just like the classic Long Gunmen episodes of The X-Files did so many years ago. The dialogue between Mulder and Scully is a lot of fun, as well.
Scully’s Motto: Hate the game, hit the player.
John Stanisci’s pencils are a very good fit for the book. There are a few panels that don’t quite line up with previous character illustrations (particularly with regards to Mulder and Scully), but Stanisci’s knack for portraying facial reactions and emotions adds to the story a great deal.
I’m still a bit wary of how this series crossing over with all these other big franchises will work. There’s a good chance that it could be a lot of fun, but there’s just as good of a chance that it will read like a clunky and pointless cash grab. For now, however, this issue works as an excellent start to the crossover.