Saturday, 22 June 2013

New Beginnings - The X-Files Season 10 #1

Late in 1993 TV-land was graced with Chris Carter’s new sci-fi series, The X-Files, and iconic fandom soon followed. Running until 2001, the show made a sizeable mark on society spanning nine series plus two films. 

Now almost 20 years later, The X-Files takes a leaf out of Buffy's book and returns with a tenth season in comic form through IDW.

The issues are penned by Joe Harris but they also have the input of Chris Carter (complete with him being credited as the Executive Producer) which should belay any concerns that fans picking the comic up may be faced with stories that are little more than non-canon nonsense, akin to the old offerings from Topps.

Staying within the mythology the plot follows on from the where the second film left off. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are in their new lives, with cover identities away from the FBI. Their lives are apparently happy and out of the limelight, but this is all quickly shattered when Deputy Director Skinner arrives as the bearer of bad news. An unknown online assailant has managed to breach the FBI and peek at it’s secrets, including some of those that were sealed within the X-Files. With that a sinister cabal of cloaked and hooded assailants with the power to manipulate people is on the hunt for them. 

This premise leads to the cyclic nature of the issue, where we were first greeted with Scully wounded and on the run. It opens the reader to a huge amount of questions, as although it gives you something to ponder, it doesn’t give much else by way of support. There are a plethora of doors opened for the reader to step through, but at present each door simply leads to more questions. Most confusing is the revelation that whoever hacked the X-Files doesn't actually want our heroes despite seemingly hunting them down. So what does it all mean?

There was another character piece that struck me as well. Mulder and Skinner are all very easily recognised from their depictions, but Scully didn’t feel Scully enough for me. This may have been because this first issue was full of exposition at the expense of characterisation, but too often she felt more a helpless victim than the strong female front I remember from my youth. I know her trademark cynicism softened in the face of the nine series and two films' worth of revelations, but she just didn't quite act like Scully.

The artwork is provided by Michael Walsh - an artist known for his work on Image and IDW comics - and as said above is very good at recreating very memorable characters from the series, whilst still keeping a sense of his own style. He does this without using overly detailed line work or definition. It’s accomplished more by using basic shape and then focussing on key elements. In particular, the eyes and mouth identify them all very well.

Although as a teenager I loved the X-Files, I’m not sure that this is enough for me. Hardcore fans on the other hand will love it, as it has all of the mystery and uncertainty of the series. With Chris Carter as a guiding force I have no doubt that this title will live up to the franchise. Will it find a stronger following than the recent Buffy comics? Who knows. As they say, the truth is out there...

Matt Puddy couldn't resist that last line.

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