The X-Files: Origins #1
- STORY BY Jody Houser & Matthew Dow Smith
- SCRIPT BY Jody Houser
- ART AND COLORS BY Chris Fenoglio
- LETTERS BY Dezi Sienty
- STORY BY Matthew Dow Smith & Jody Houser
- SCRIPT BY Matthew Dow Smith
- ART BY Corin Howell
- COLORS BY Monica Kubina
- LETTERS BY Dezi Sienty
Review by Hernan Guarderas
Spooky Mulder and Scully are back! In this incarnation, readers see the genesis of what leads to their first meeting in the basement of the X-Files. They’re both teens dealing with two larger than life mysteries for their age. This isn’t UFOs, ageless men who could squeeze themselves through storm drains, or murderous twins. One, the most familiar, is the disappearance of Mulder’s sister Samantha which starts off Mulder’s issue. The other is the murder of Scully’s Sunday school teacher, Mr. Wilson.
The two stories provide insight into the characters’ thoughts through both the writing and the art. With Mulder, the reader is allowed more than just thought bubbles, we get to see his overwhelming guilt about the loss of his sister in oversized panels that surround him.The hypothetical visuals of panic that flash before him as his parents find his room empty when he’s simply doing what normal teenagers do remind us he isn’t like his friends. He’s just a kid, but his thoughts run wild, which Fenoglio reminds us of using luminous splash panels that take up the majority of the space on pages of Mulder’s introspection. He’s sneaking out to find an adventure that could potentially help him clear his mind of his sister or find clues towards her disappearance. The art is emblematic of this stage of Mulder’s life, which is juxtaposed by Houser’s characterization in him not necessarily believing in the paranormal, but showing his interest early on with a book on Sasquatch. This is a more practical Mulder, he is constantly thinking about his sister, even as his friends run toward the danger at the end of the issue. He understands the trauma of losing someone and it plagues him, but that only makes him hesitant before running towards the danger and being engulfed by a blinding light.
Scully’s story begins with panels trading images of obsessed whale watcher Captain Ahab from Henry Melville’s Moby Dick and Scully looking out onto the ocean. This parallels the obsessive nature that will inevitably present itself the moment she sees the apathetic approach the police have to the homicide of her Sunday School teacher, Mr. Wilson. The letterer of this issue, Diezy Sienty, uses cursive to personalize Scully’s thoughts by giving us a glimpse into her diary. Scully is new to San Diego and clings to the community through her church. This is a very different Scully than the seasoned version we get in the show. She doesn’t have her head in a book, instead, she has her feet in the sand writing in her journal and going to church. Faith is important to her and it’s prevalent after she sees Mr. Wilson’s crime scene. When she goes home and doesn’t receive the answers she desired, she goes to church. While there, the Father asks her the age old question: “How can God allow terrible things to happen to good people?” This question doesn’t inspire Scully, in fact, it leads her in a completely different direction. One that causes her to have a crisis of faith, planting the seeds for the more empirical Scully we know from the show, and still showing the foundation of her faith. Those images of Captain Ahab and Scully in the beginning foreshadow that she’s about to suffer something out of her control, the same way Ahab’s pursuit of Moby Dick ultimately becomes an unfavorable psychological and physical experience.
Both stories gives us a window into seeing how young Mulder and Scully work off of instinct. They don’t have the decorated educational background, they just have questions they wrestle with. Loss is thematically the core of these two issues and both characters try to find answers in their initial needless tragedies. Ultimately, they find their way to the FBI and become two paranormal investigators, but the trajectory is so rich that these two comics are sure to be as fun and engaging as its television counterpart.
Buy. The story is a great start to what could potentially be an entertaining foundation for one of the most widely known television series ever made. The X-Files was, and is, a paranormal character study of Mulder and Scully, and if this series proves successful we’ll get to see a different side of their story. If you’re already a fan of The X-Files, chances are you’re in love with the two leads and that’s more than enough of a reason to pick this up. If you’re not a fan, they’re still two great coming-of-age stories that explore the idea of losing someone close to you.