After a somewhat rocky start, IDW’s new in-continuity (for real this time) X-Files series kicks off a new story arc. We also have a guest artist Andrew Currie filling in for Matthew Dow Smith.
Is it good?
The X-Files #4 (IDW Publishing)
- Dana Scully flashbacks: Something we don’t see nearly enough in the franchise’s television iteration.
- Yikes. Scully’s nightmares are no joke.
- Credit to writer Joe Harris for showing a soul-crushingly mundane part of working for the FBI (or any other government agency) while making it entertaining to read.
- More Dana Scully flashback material, including a titanic revelation.
- Pretty sure that we should have known about this a long time ago, but it’s interesting, so I’ll go with it.
- There are many of us with varying degrees of obsession about Dana Scully, but this guy is a whole other level of creepy…
- …and dangerous.
Is It Good?
First off, Currie does a great job filling in for Smith, whose artwork had been the best part of the relaunched series so far. I’m not sure if this was deliberate or not, but I found the flashback sequences to be much more engaging and emotionally charged. Even the big ‘confrontation scene’ (which was excellently drawn) didn’t hold quite the same weight as the ones showing us Scully’s time growing up in San Diego. That being said, however, the whole issue looks great.
As far as the writing is concerned, Harris finally returns to form with a story that is equal parts creepy and engaging. While the villain’s motivations and powers are still pretty vague, the hook into Scully’s relationship and childhood view of her father is riveting. There’s also the aforementioned scene where Scully confronts a forgotten/discarded person from her past, which shows off Harris’ knack for scripting excellent dialogue.
Now to be fair, the revelation we get is almost too big. This definitely feels like something that would/should have come up over the many X-Files episodes and comics during the last couple decades. And like I mentioned before, the story’s villain (?) is very thinly defined. This could be a precursor to all types of layers and revelations about him, but it could also be how he’ll be portrayed for the duration of the arc. After the unsatisfying conclusion to last month’s story, I’m not ready to give Harris the benefit of the doubt there.
But even if the villain never completely comes together, I’m still all types of excited to see what Harris comes up with next. I’ve always loved the way he writes Scully—this story is a great example why he’s so good at it. Combine that with the great fill in artwork, and this new era of IDW’s The X-Files might finally be finding its groove.