By Frank Spotnitz (writer), Brian Denham (art), Kelsey Shannon (colors)
Like the forthcoming movie, I expected this book to be pure crap. It’s not that I hate The X-Files – quite the opposite – I love the series. Well, I love seasons 1-5, anyway. Anything that came after that was crap, in my opinion, so you’ll have to excuse my pessimism. Much to my surprise, this book is actually “not horrible”. There are some serious issues I have with the book, but all-in-all, I think many people will be pleasantly surprised with Frank Spotnitz’s offering.
The first thing that struck me was the look of Mulder and Scully. No, I’m not talking about the obvious photo tracing job by Brian Denham (which sticks out like a sore thumb), but rather how young they look. At the end of the issue, it’s said that these stories will be taking place between Seasons 2-5, and honestly, that makes the most sense – the show hadn’t spiraled out of control yet. But as a comic that could have tied into the movie or serve as a good primer (it even sports a cover that replicates the movie’s poster), this reversal in time feels like a missed opportunity.
The story itself starts off in a very creepy way, and the colors by Kelsey Shannon go a very long way in creating a foreboding atmosphere. (I’m purposely not spoiling any of the story because I know most of the people reading this review are going to buy this book anyway.) From there, the plot begins to unravel as Mulder adds the facts and makes his deductions. Scully doesn’t do much except for her normal analytical stuff (she examines a dead body) and skeptic routine. What’s jarring about this story is the awful expository dialogue provided by Mulder on more than one occasion. I think it’s safe to say that fans of The X-Files aren’t idiots. So why are we being treated as such? Not everything has to be spoon fed, and frankly, this pisses me off.
Luckily, the story is well paced and entertaining enough to (almost) overlook these problems. If you don’t mind blatant photo tracing, you’ll also love Brian Denham’s art which can be quite good at times. The last page says to be continued in X-Files #1 – but there’s no word on when that’s going to come out. And at this point in time, the soonest we’ll see it is November 2008 (or later). Why so long? For a good debut issue, this isn’t the right way to maintain your readership. Why do fans of this show continued to be jerked around? (Grade: B-)
– J. Montes
A Second Opinion
My complaint against previous X-Files comics were that Mulder and Scully weren’t drawn with the likeness of the actors. So the fact that the characters here are photo-traced is a plus for me. I really want to see Mulder and Scully’s likeness well represented in these pages – not some doodles that resemble them. That said, there are some panels that look overly stretched and they look bad on the page. Regardless of this, Brian Denham does a great job.
The dialogue can’t get any better than what we get here. It’s written by Frank Spotnitz, so he knows the characters by heart – how they talk and their mannerisms. I definitely could hear their voices in my head (I’m not crazy, by the way) as I read the story. Most of the elements that we’ve grown to love from the TV series are accurately reproduced.
There are several little details with the art that only die hard fans will catch, and because of that this first issue made a great impression on me. I’m happy to have new X-Files stories to look forward. (Grade: B+)
– Daniel Yanez