X-Files: Season 10 #1
Story by Joe Harris w/ Chris Carter
Written by Joe Harris
Art by Michael Walsh
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Review by Joey Braccino
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE.
It’s been a long time since those words—along with the iconic theme song (?)—graced our TV screens. The X-Files revolutionized prime-time TV in the 1990s, bringing a distinct blend of hard science-fiction and pop-irony inspired by The Twilight Zone and Twin Peaks. After nine seasons, a movie, and a spin-off (the short-lived Lone Gunmen), The X-Files concluded in 2002 as the longest running science-fiction series in TV history. FBI Agents Mulder and Scully, Assistant Director Skinner, the Smoking Man, Deep Throat, X, and many, many monsters-of-the-week have become engrained in the pop cultural zeitgeist since the show’s debut in 1992, so when IDW Publishing announced an X-Files: Season 10 in comics form last year, the sci-fi fan forums rejoiced. Further adding to the excitement was the announcement that series creator Chris Carter would be joining genre-screenwriter and comics writer Joe Harris to build the new in-continuity story for Agents Mulder and Scully.
X-Files: Season 10 #1 dropped today and, as an X-Phile, I’m glad to say that we’re off to a good start.
The issue jumps right into the surreal and foreboding as Agent Scully, bloodied and disoriented, stumbles down an alleyway away from a gang of hooded, shadowy figures with lens-flare eyes. The staging of the opening sequence is brilliantly unsettling and jarring; the “camera” shifts focus between tight shots on a running figure and wide shots showing the cloaked pursuers. Only when the fleeing figure trips is she revealed to be our by-the-books skeptic, Scully. Michael Walsh’s pulp-inspired linework (reminiscent of the distinct styles of Francesco Francavilla and Chris Samnee) is perfect for the pulp-inspired, old school sci-fi action of The X-Files, and this opening sequence thrusts new and old “readers” alike into that atmosphere.
The action then jumps to “earlier that day,” where it is revealed that Agents Scully and Mulder are now living under the name “Blake” after leaving the FBI. There’s a lot of continuity behind this new status quo that long-time viewers might not even recall immediately, including references to Mulder and Scully’s baby, William (whose parentage has been the source of mystery throughout the franchise since his birth in season 8). While most of the issue can be read without a working knowledge of the show itself, I could understand how some newcomers to the series might be confused or might miss the reference, particularly when certain characters or the tease for next issue are clearly meant to elicit shock and glee from the reader.
Nevertheless, the issue does provide a suspenseful start to the new season. Someone has hacked the FBI mainframe and targeted the defunct X-Files database, perhaps targeting our happy-at-home former agents. Harris captures Scully and Mulder’s voices perfectly, particularly the latter’s, whose combination of sarcasm, wit, and intense belief in the paranormal is one of the reasons why the character has such iconic cult status.
One problem that might come into play with X-Files: Season 10 is the monthly publishing schedule that comes with the shift to the comics medium. Whereas TV episodes would drop on a weekly basis, allowing for more cohesive storytelling as well as more one-off issues, I wonder if the time delay between issues will lessen the impact and continuity of each story arc. I only say this because the end of this debut issue alone reads less like the cliffhanger it is intended to be and more like a commercial break, except instead of waiting two minutes, I have to wait a month to find out what the next line is.
Worth a look, particularly for fans of the original series. Newcomers will find enjoyment in the science-fiction/crime-procedural genre mash-up and stellar artwork from Walsh and Bellaire, but will probably miss out on some of the larger continuity at work in the issue. While the series might experience some hiccups along the way, issue #1 avoids any serious pitfalls or problems and instead provides a great start to what should end up being a return to the old school supernatural mystery of The X-Files.
I WANT TO BELIEVE