See all reviews of The X-Files (2016) (17)

Despite Joe Harris doing some really cool stuff in IDW’s X-Files: Season 11, the franchise’s return to television effectively retconned the comic to an alternate timeline.

Thankfully, IDW put Harris on a new X-Files title, relaunched and reintegrated into the small screen canon (and taking place before that head scratcher of a finale). This week sees the release of the first issue. Is it good?

The X-Files (2016) #1 (IDW Publishing)

Observations

  • This opening is exciting, but it’s also tragically topical.
  • All that blood and death probably means this dude’s Employee of the Month plaque is going to have to come down.
  • Not sure what’s creepier: Watching Mulder and Scully canvas the scene of a mass shooting, or watching whoever is watching them.
  • Wow. The officers securing this mall are doing a really bad job.
  • A really, REALLY bad job.
  • It’s all fun and games until the baby stands up.
  • Totally digging Skinner’s facial hair. Not digging his explanation for everything, though.

Is It Good?

On the art side of things, Matthew Dow Smith makes some subtle differences to Mulder and Scully’s appearances that put them a bit more in line with their television counter parts. It’s a nice touch. He also draws one of the creepiest panels I’ve seen this year (babies aren’t supposed to stand up like that). Combine that with some uncomfortable gore, Skinner’s rockin’ goatee, and colorist Jordie Bellaire’s rendering of ‘possessed eyes’ throughout the story, and the art for this first issue was definitely on point.

But let’s talk about those possessed eyes for a minute. No seriously, can we talk about it? Because I have absolutely no idea what’s going on with them. Or the narrative.

Don’t get me wrong—the dialogue and atmosphere are great, but we get little to no clues about what might be causing the supernatural weirdness. I get that Harris doesn’t want to give away the whole mystery in the first issue, but we really need more than ‘Orange Eyes = Crazy With a Death Wish.’ How does this thing pass from person to person? Where did it come from? Why is it targeting these specific people? I’m sure all these questions will be answered later, but we’re left without a single clue beyond the U.S. government might possibly be involved—and in the X-Files, when is that NOT the case?

Thankfully, Harris’ trademark knack for dialogue plus an intriguing plot hook makes this an issue that’s still worth picking up. I’m still a little sad that the groundwork he laid in Season 10 and Season 11 has been moved aside, but it should be fun watching him tinker with the new television series mythology.

The X-Files #1 Review
Matthew Dow Smith (art) and Jordie Bellaire (colors) are on point, providing some cool/gruesome visuals, subtle changes to Mulder and Scully's appearances, and blessing us with Skinner's awesome looking goatee.Harris continues to show a knack for writing great dialogue between Mulder and Scully.
The episode's supernatural mystery is present, but without almost any context or clues to its origin/purpose.This issue will probably read well in the trade, but as a single, the narrative is fairly confusing.
6Average
Reader Rating 2 Votes
6.3
  • Harry and the Hendersons

    Well, at least they didn’t move on from the “dismebodied heads floating in a nondescript space” cover style that’s served them so well.

    • Man John Lithgow is Cool

      The criss-crossing lens flare X Photoshop 1.0 effect sure did spruce up that nebulous background that Mulder and Scully’s heads usually float on though, I’ll tell you hwat!

    • RamblingBeachCat

      Eh…I’m definitely seeing some torso on this one.