(IDW Publishing, 2014)
Written by Joe Harris
Artwork by Greg Scott
Color Artwork by Art Lyon
“I want to believe…” For so long that was the mantra of the x-fanatic. The adventures of Mulder and Scully captured the imaginations of a generation, and Chris Carter most definitely changed the face of television, as we know it.
It seems to be provenance that I should come to this book at this time in my life. As I was growing up we had three channels on our TV, ABC, CBS, and PBS. If it was below zero and a fantastically clear night in the winter, occasionally I could get a FOX station from Green Bay, the nearest metropolis. (And if you’ve been to Green Bay, you’ll have an idea of how big my hometown is.) This time line leads through 1994 and the X-Files phenomenon, which for me threaded its presence through my high school and college careers. When they finally cancelled it I was so far out of touch that to understand a final episode, not to mention two movies, was far too confusing. (And let’s face it; the movies were kind of hard to understand even for seasoned veterans.)
Come the advent of Internet television and the beauties and vagaries therein. Amazon Prime was a cost effective way to ship packages for free. What’s this? They have episodic television as well? All 9 seasons of the X-Files? And what am I to do on the treadmill but begin to watch?
And now we have IDW and the release of season 10, Chris Carter’s vision for the show that never made it to air. And that, fellow readers, is exactly what this is. (Believe me, I can almost see the long camera pan to a close-up of my fingers on the keyboard, Gillian Anderson’s voice over reading along as she types up her case notes.)
The tone matches perfectly, as does the pacing. The comics are set up just as the show was, with the teaser at the beginning, then the token Mulder/Scully back-and-forth either in their office or at the crime scene, and then we get into the meat of the weirdness, which in the case of issue 9 is a murderer named Milton Keansey.
Greg Scott worked the art up in this issue, and it’s a return to the classic X-Files look that you remember from the show. There was apparently an issue with the previous artist, Michael Walsh, but I thought the art, though not strictly realistic was still good. With this switch you have a more realistic look to the characters, the Mulder and Scully representations are accurate. The panels are mostly darker in nature with intense shadowing, just like Chris Carter had for the look of the show.
This story highlights the search through Keansey’s life, trying to find out what pushed him into murdering people. It is typical X-files re-direction and focus is briefly put onto the “Chittering God”, some kind of creepy presence that talks to Keansey through cockroaches.
This is a beautiful example of how to do a one-shot story within the context of the larger work, something Chris Carter excelled at for the nine years the show was on the air. It’s a unique opportunity to see how two mediums can parallel and add to each other, and a primer on how to transfer from one medium to another. Any X-Files fan will find a ready home with “Season 10”, and that “just another episode” feel in issue #9. (Remember that each and every episode never felt like “just another”.)
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.