Writer: Joe Harris
Art: Matthew Dow Smith
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
It is the season to be jolly, and this special season 11 tie-for IDW’s X-Files comic book series has arrived just in time for the holidays! The Lone Gunmen discover a bizarre clue that points towards the imminent arrival of unexpected visitors, but before they can react, the trio will get some more surprise guests for Christmas.
From the moment you set eyes on the stunning cover by Menton3 for this X-Files X-Mas Special, the tone is set for an extraordinary adventure with Mulder, Scully, and The Long Gunmen for the holiday season. Writer Joe Harris delivers a beautifully crafted issue here, as we catch up with Bryers, Frohike, and Langly in Chesterfuss, Illinois, when a surprise gift is left outside their van. Once they manage to overcome their initial suspicions they eventually decide to open the present, and soon they discover the gift inside could well provide them with the vital clue they need to solve something they’ve been working on for some time.
Season 11 has already presented Mulder and Scully with some challenging times. When Mulder was discredited because of the schemes of their former ally, the incredibly powerful Gibson Praise, he became a fugitive from the FBI. Meanwhile, Scully continued working at the FBI to try and stem Gibson’s influence over the government and clear Mulder’s name. Now Mulder has been caught by the authorities and has inadvertently become caught up in the conflict between Gibson and the return of the faceless alien rebel faction.
As the Lone Gunmen receive a surprise visit on Christmas Eve, the plane carrying Mulder has also been forced to land in Illinois. Fox soon acquires a new coat and manages to get away with some unexpected assistance from Gibson Praise, but as the full extent of the conspiracy and machinations around Gibson’s involvement begins to unfold, alien forces begin to converge, and Scully suddenly receives a call for help.
This X-Mas Special makes a welcome addition to the main arc of season 11, The Lone Gunmen are an inspired choice to feature in this issue, Joe Harris brings various plot threads together as Mulder’s, Scully’s, and The Lone Gunmen’s stories entwine, and the uplifting tone of the holiday season is very much in evidence throughout.
The art by Matthew Dow Smith is exceptional good for this issue. He’s clearly had a lot of fun creating this issue, and the expressions and characteristics of Bryers, Frohike, and Langly are right on the money. From the opening with the Lone Gunmen, the scenes with Mulder and Gibson at the diner are another of this issues standout moments, Scully is also right at the heart of the action, and there are some pretty eye-watering alien experiments as well that will probably have you grimacing and laughing out loud at the same time! The synergy between Joe Harris’s superb scrip and Matthew Dow Smith’s atmospheric artwork effortlessly captures the tone and style of the TV series so completely that at times it almost feels like you are watching an original TV episode of the X-Files, and the sublime colors by Jordie Bellaire draws you into the story with a deft balance of tone and shade that encapsulates the spirit of the holiday season perfectly.
This entire issue feels like a pilgrimage of sorts for all the characters involved, blending festive themes and extraterrestrial mystery as the individual storylines of season 11 gradually converge towards a bright shining light in the sky. In true X-Files fashion this is a journey steeped in the rich mythology of the X-Files, it will make you trust no one and want to believe, there’s a parting gift, and the denouement is both moving and strangely ominous. Add in the bonus excerpt (Foundling, by Tim Waggoner) from the upcoming prose anthology: The Truth Is Our There, released in February 2016, and you have an excellent X-Mas Special to enjoy over the holiday season.
The X-Files X-Mas Special 2015 is an excellent seasonal edition of The X-Files Season 11, especially considering the events in issue #5 where the arc have reached a major turning point for Mulder and Scully. This festive issue of The X-Files not only temporarily reunites Mulder and Scully, its also a great showcase for the Lone Gunmen, Joe Harris weaves an exciting and thoughtful Christmas story for this X-mas Special, and the brilliant artwork by Matthew Dow Smith continues to make every issue of this IDW series look amazing. The X-Files X-Mas Special is a great Christmas treat, an absolute must for X-Files fans, and if that wasn’t enough I’m sure seeing Frohike in a Santa suit is sure to bring a wry smile to your face!
Happy Holidays Everyone!
Paul Bowler is a self-Confessed Sci-Fi Geek, Doctor Who fan, and Zombie Disposal Expert. He likes movies, comic books, and all things PS3. He likes to write about his interests, would love to write a novel one day, and also enjoys chatting to the many people he has gotten to know on Twitter. When he’s not busy being an Impossible Astronaut, he likes to take a break from his adventures in time and space to enjoy some of his favourite tv shows and movies, preferably with a nice cuppa tea & a sandwich! You can follow him on Twitter @paul_bowler, or find him at his website, Sci-Fi Jubilee.